The glossary explains some of the words used across this website and covers some key cancer and research terms, which primarily focus on lung cancer.

Advanced lung cancer

Advanced lung cancer describes how cancerous cells that initially started growing in the lung have now spread to nearby tissues, lymph nodes or other organs in the body. Treatment can be given to help shrink the tumour, slow the growth of cancer cells or relieve symptoms,1 but advanced lung cancer is not usually curable.2 See also ‘Early stage lung cancer’, ‘Metastatic lung cancer’ and ‘Stage’

Age-standardised rate (ASR)

A method that enables comparison of the burden of a disease between several populations. Using an ASR reduces the bias that may occur from comparing incidence and mortality rates for populations with different ages by accounting for the effect that age may have on the rate of diseases in a population. This enables other factors besides age to be explored as the potential explanation for a difference in cancer risk between populations.3 See also ‘Incidence’ and ‘Prevalence’

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI (e.g. machine learning, deep learning and neural networks) has several potential uses in lung cancer, such as improving the efficiency of screening or supporting healthcare professionals to make decisions.4-7 See also ‘Computer-aided detection’


A naturally occurring mineral used in construction materials, automotive parts and textiles. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny fibres are released into the air – inhaling these can cause scarring, inflammation, and cancer of the lung and surrounding tissues.8 See also ‘Carcinogens’


Lung cancer is considered asymptomatic if a patient has no noticeable symptoms that are usually associated with the disease, such as a chronic cough, weight loss and chest pain.9 See also ‘Symptoms’


  1. National Cancer Institute. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Available from: [Accessed 04/03/22]

  2. Cancer Research UK. About advanced lung cancer. [Updated 21/11/19]. Available from: [Accessed 08/04/22

  3. Global Lung Cancer Coalition. 2022. Glossary. Available from: [Accessed 04/03/22]

  4. Tandon YK, Bartholmai BJ, Koo CW. 2020. Putting artificial intelligence (AI) on the spot: machine learning evaluation of pulmonary nodules. Journal of Thoracic Disease 12(11): 6954-65

  5. Choi HK, Wang X, Mazzone PJ. 2020. Artificial intelligence as a diagnostic tool for lung nodule evaluation. Journal of Medical Artificial Intelligence 3: 16

  6. Oudkerk M, Liu S, Heuvelmans M, et al. 2020. Lung cancer LDCT screening and mortality reduction — evidence, pitfalls and future perspectives. Nature Reviews: Clinical Oncology: 10.1038/s41571-020-00432-6:

  7. Firmino M, Angelo G, Morais H, et al. 2016. Computer-aided detection (CADe) and diagnosis (CADx) system for lung cancer with likelihood of malignancy. BioMedical Engineering OnLine 15(1): 2

  8. National Cancer Institute. 2021. Asbestos exposure and cancer risk. [Updated 29/11/21]. Available from: [Accessed 30/03/22]

  9. Pallipedia. 2021. Asymptomatic cancer. [Updated 23/12/21]. Available from: [Accessed 30/03/22]