Lung cancer is an epithelial tumour, originating from the alveoli (air sacs), the bronchi or trachea (windpipe). Mainly men are affected by the disease, but women are ‘catching up fast’ because of increasing cigarette smoking. Lung cancer is the most frequently occurring tumour in men, with 75 men per 100,000 and 35 women per 100,000 being affected. The age peak of the disease is between 55 and 65 years.
The inhalation of toxic substances plays a key role in the formation of most bronchial carcinomas. Smoking of tobacco comes first- actively and passively. After twenty years of smoking 20 cigarettes daily, the risk of lung cancer, when compared to a non-smoker, is increased by around 10 times. Carcinogenic substances in the professional environment (for example, asbestos, chrome, coal tar) may also be of significance, and combined with smoking, the risk increases further.