The study found that smoking is associated with around 90 percent of lung cancer cases. In Austria, only 15 percent of people with this form of cancer fully recover. For the majority, life expectancy is around 16.4 months, despite the best efforts of modern medicine.
Data was examined from 2,293 patients who suffered from the most common variation between 1989 and 2009, known as non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The median age for people with the disease is 64 years of age.
In addition to cancer, patients often present with other serious diseases, including cardiovascular problems (62 percent) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 45 percent of cases. Around 55 percent experience chronic coughing, while 62 percent reported shortness of breath as a symptom.
Of the patients in the study, only 874 were at the stage where a full tumour removal operation was possible. The remainder received only palliative care, although life expectancy did improve slightly during the 20 years of the study.
According to scientists who spoke at the Central European Lung Cancer conference in November, some 4,000 Austrians are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. The majority of these cases (90 percent) are due to the high rate of smoking.