Lung cancer has been the world’s most frequent cancer, as well as the world’s leading cause of cancer-related deaths, for several decades.1 It remains today the leading cancer in males2 and, even if incidence rates are generally lower, it represents among females the fourth most frequent cancer and the second most common cause of death from cancer.1 Furthermore, the distribution of histological subtypes has considerably changed over the recent decades, with an increasing frequency of adenocarcinoma compared with squamous cell carcinoma.3 In the European Union, in 2008, lung cancer represented an incidence of 391,000, making it the third most frequent cancer after colorectal and breast cancer.4 However, with an estimated 342,000 related deaths in 2008, it is the number one killer cancer.4 Although the mortality rate in men has been decreasing for more than 20 years, the mortality rate in women has been increasing in many European countries2 and rose from 12.6/100,000 in 2007 to 13.1/100,000 in 2011.5 As a consequence, it tends to approach and sometimes exceed the mortality rate of breast cancer, as was the case in the UK and Poland, where lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women from 2007 to 2008. The lung cancer epidemic in women is still expanding.6 Predictions for the year 2012 show a 7 % increase of lung cancer in European females.5
Treatments for Patients with Lung Cancer and Their Side Effects
Clinical management and prognosis of lung cancer depend on the histological type of cancer, its stage and the general state of health of the patient. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC, 75–80 % of lung cancers) is primarily treated with surgery, while limited small-cell lung cancer (SCLC, 20–25 % of lung cancers) is usually treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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