Diagnosing Lung Cancer

This information is useful for adults and older adults
A doctor discusses a lung cancer diagnosis with a patient.

Lung cancer, one of the most common cancers in the world, is a leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women in the United States. Smoking cigarettes is usually the cause of lung cancer, but far from the only one. Risk factors also include exposure to asbestos, radiation and pollution, or a family history of the condition. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 80 to 85 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses, with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) comprising the remaining 15 to 20 percent.

Yale Medicine's pathologists at are highly specialized—some specialize in bone and soft tissue pathology, related to the ribs, sternum and vertebral column, as well as hematologic conditions involving white cells that can form masses, particularly in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest.