Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. with more than 200,000 Americans diagnosed with the disease annually. Due largely to aggressive anti-smoking initiatives, annual new U.S. cases have dropped 14 percent since the mid-1990s.
While once classified by appearance under a microscope, lung cancer tumors can now be treated with targeted drugs based on their genetic characteristics. Research has also shown CT scanning can reduce cancer deaths among heavy smokers by catching more cases early. Growing evidence also suggests that immunotherapy may offer hope for future advances in treating advanced lung cancer.
Long-term lung cancer survival, while low, has edged upward in recent decades and greater improvements are possible with continued research investment and increased use of screening advances.