Lung cancer

What are the facts?



Although people from BME groups are less likely to get cancer, certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of cancer in these groups. For Bangladeshi men who chew betel and other tobacco containing products there can be a higher incidence of oropharyngeal cancers.

What are the risk factors to be aware of?

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK. Primary lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lung. If cancer starts elsewhere in the body and spreads to the lungs, this is secondary lung cancer.

There are two main types of primary lung cancer, which behave and respond to treatment differently.


They are:

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Symptoms can include any of the following:

  • A cough that doesn't go away after 2 or 3 weeks

  • A long-standing cough that gets worse

  • Chest infections that keep coming back

  • Coughing up blood

  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing

  • Persistent breathlessness

Lung cancer is sometimes diagnosed in people who don't have any symptoms, but who are having a chest X-ray or scan for another problem.

Action to take:


If you have any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, it's important to have them checked by your GP. All of these symptoms may also be caused by illnesses other than cancer.

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and medical history and whether or not you smoke. They may wait and see if your symptoms improve on their own, especially if you are younger and have never smoked. Your GP will then refer you for a chest x-ray, a scan or an urgent clinic at the hospital, if they think your symptoms may be caused by lung cancer. You can read more here. (BUPA)

Visit our lung cancer toolkit for more information.

Targeted lung health checks led by NHS England

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, a new programme of targeted lung health checks was announced in March 2019. NHS England confirmed it is to invest in 14 Targeted Lung Health Check areas across England to improve the early detection of lung cancer and other lung diseases. Key areas would benefit from the investment. Read more 

Emotional impacts of a cancer diagnosis

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can impact on a person's emotional state and depending on your own personal journey, around 20-30% of people living with cancer report long-term psychological problems including depression more than 5 years after a cancer diagnosis.  Whilst it's difficult, it is important to talk about your feelings during this time to someone and don't feel alone on your cancer journey. Read our latest blog