STEP 1: Prevention and early detection


  • Stop smoking. All patients who currently smoke (or have recently quit) should be offered best practice tobacco dependence treatment, given an opt-out referral to a behavioural intervention service such as Quitline 13 78 48, and prescribed smoking cessation pharmacotherapy, if clinically appropriate. Frame conversations about smoking using the Ask, Advise, Help model.
  • Avoid exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
  • Prevent occupational exposure to asbestos, silica, radon, heavy metals, diesel fumes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Take moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Risk factors

  • Lifestyle factor:
    • physical inactivity
  • Environmental factors:
    • second-hand smoke
    • occupational exposure to arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, cadmium, radon, asbestos, silica, iron and steel founding, nickel, beryllium, chromium VI, paint, diesel exhaust
    • air pollution
  • Personal factors:
    • current or former tobacco smoking
    • increasing age
    • family history of lung cancer
    • personal history of cancer
    • chronic lung disease.

Indigenous Australians are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with and to die from lung cancer and have a lower 5-year survival compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

Early detection

Increased use of CT scans has led to more incidental detection of lung nodules, which should be managed according to existing guidelines.

Screening recommendations

There is currently no national screening program for lung cancer in Australia.