Lung cancer might not get as much attention as other forms of cancer,
but it kills more men and women than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and
colon cancer combined. In 2011 (the most recent year for which
statistics are available), 156,953 people in the United States died from lung cancer, including 86,736 men and 70,217 women.
The disease has claimed the lives of many famous
celebrities - but keep reading to the end to meet one famous athlete who
fought lung cancer - and won...
TV reporter and anchorman Peter Jennings covered some of the biggest events of the latter half of the 20th Century, including the erection of the Berlin Wall and its destruction.
A heavy smoker for decades, he died of lung cancer in 2005. He was 67.
Credit: AP/ABC News
Famous for bad-boy roles in a series of hit movies, including "The Great Escape" and "Bullit," Steve McQueen died in Mexico while being treated for asbestos-related lung cancer in 1980.
Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Tammy Faye Messner
Though she gained fame as the wife of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Messner became even more famous for her optimism and courage after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Despite long odds, she survived for years after the diagnosis, finally succumbing in 2007.
Credit: AP Graphics Bank
"Superman" actor Christopher Reeve died in 2004. His widow, Dana Reeve, was diagnosed with lung cancer less than a year later. She died the following year.
She had never been a smoker.
Credit: GETTY IMAGES/Stephen J. Boitano
Though he's best remembered as the deep, silky voice behind hits like "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," Lou Rawls was also a successful film and TV actor.
He died of lung cancer in 2006, at the age of 72.
Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Oscar-winning actor John Wayne was well-known not only for his many starring roles but also as a heavy smoker - reportedly smoking more than six packs a day.
He died in 1979, reportedly of stomach cancer, after surviving an earlier bout with lung cancer.
Though best known for his hit "Werewolves of London," rocker and longtime smoker Warren Zevon also wrote hit songs - like "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me," which was a big hit for Linda Ronstadt. He died of lung cancer in 2003 at the age of 56.
Zevon had a logo: A skull with a cigarette dangling from its mouth.
Actor Vincent Price - best known for his roles in a string of cheesy horror films in the 1960s and 1970s - died of lung cancer in 1993. He had been a lifelong smoker.
Credit: 20TH CENTURY FOX
Beloved opera diva Beverly Sills died of lung cancer in 2007. She was 78.
Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Cyclist Lance Armstrong triumphed over cancer, which had spread to his lungs and brain after starting in his testicles.
He said having cancer actually made his life better. "Though I wouldn't wish it for anyone, I believe I appreciate my life in a completely new and better way because I faced cancer and was lucky enough to survive" he said in an interview. "Having said that, I also believe that cancer still affects far too many people, and we must continue to work to change that fact."