Lung Cancer

Did you know?

  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer affecting both women and men in Western Australia¹.
  • In 2014, 623 Western Australian men and 484 Western Australian women were diagnosed with lung cancer¹.

Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Coughing up blood, even just once
  • A cough that lasts for four weeks, or a worsening or changing of a long standing cough
  • Repeated chest infections
  • Becoming more short of breath, tired or lacking energy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent (long lasting) chest or shoulder pain.

If you have coughed up blood, even if it was just once, it’s important to tell your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker straight away.

If you have had any of the other symptoms for more than four weeks, tell your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker. It doesn’t mean you’ve got lung cancer – often these symptoms turn out to be something less serious. But it’s important to tell your health professional and get checked out to be safe.

If it is lung cancer, the earlier it’s found, the earlier it can be treated.

Reduce your risk

Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Visit the Make Smoking History website for more information.

Lung cancer myths and facts

Myth:  Lung cancer is a death sentence.

Fact:  New treatments have increased survival rates, but finding cancer early is vital.


Myth:  Only smokers get lung cancer.

Fact:  Around 2 in 10 cases of lung cancer are not caused by tobacco smoking².


Myth:  Lung cancer only affects men.

Fact:  Lung cancer can affect anyone.  More than 40% of lung cancer cases are in women¹ .


Myth:  The earliest symptom of lung cancer is coughing up blood.

Fact:  The first symptoms are often a persistent cough and shortness of breath.


Myth:  If you smoke it’s normal to have a cough.

Fact:  Smokers often have a cough, but if you’re a smoker and notice any persistent changes in the way you cough, you need to tell your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker.


¹ Threlfall TJ, Thompson JR (2015). Cancer incidence and mortality in Western Australia, 2014. Department of Health, Western Australia, Perth. Statistical Series Number 103.

² Pandeya N, Wilson LF, Bain CJ, Martin KL, Webb PM, Whiteman DC. Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to tobacco smoke. Aust N Z J Public Health 2015 Oct;39(5):464-70.