Smart cells

Lung cancer cells are really good at changing, or adapting. Researchers are working hard to find many different treatments. That way, they can be ready to fight the disease if it comes back in a different form.

Smart treatment

Researchers are working to figure out how to target treatment to each person’s cancer. Because each person’s cancer is different, a different treatment must be developed for each individual person. This is called personalized medicine.

Cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy are like flamethrowers. They wipe out everything around, even healthy cells. Scientists are trying to find smart cancer weapons that target only the cancer.

In the last 15 years, doctors have had many success stories. People who have had lung cancer are living longer and having great lives.

Surgery is the most effective treatment, but if the lungs are punctured in surgery, they may not keep working, just like with balloons. Also, if lung cancer has spread, surgery might not be possible.


In 2000, seven lung cancer survivors formed LUNGevity to raise awareness about the disease. Four of those survivors died within the first six months of its founding. Their family members took over the cause.

In 2008, the family of Patricia Stern started a different group after she died of lung cancer. Their organization was called Protect Your Lungs. The two groups joined in 2010, keeping the name LUNGevity. It is working to find ways to discover lung cancer earlier and add more treatment options.

LUNGevity is now the largest private funder of lung cancer research in the United States. Last year, the group gave $3 million to cancer research.

Don’t smoke. If people don’t start smoking, the risk of lung cancer and other deadly diseases will go down a lot. Smoking marijuana also harms the lungs.

About 4,000 kids try cigarettes for the first time every day. About 1,000 of those kids will stay hooked for the rest of their lives. If they don’t develop lung cancer, they will probably develop other problems, such as heart trouble.

Even people who have stopped smoking may still have damage to their lungs. Of course, if people stop smoking, they are in far less danger than people who keep it up. The best thing to do is to never, ever start.

We don’t know all the causes of lung cancer. Some of them include exposure to secondhand smoke or to other environmental hazards such as asbestos, radon or diesel fumes. But smoking is the worst danger of all.

Thousands of people walk each year in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of lung cancer and LUNGevity, and to raise funds for research. These walkers were participating in 2011. The motto of LUNGevity fundraising events is “Breathe Deep.” LUNGevity events include golf tournaments and fundraising parties.