Our mission

The Young Lung Cancer Study explores how and why lung cancer develops in people age 45 and younger.

Our researchers are investigating genetic as well as environmental factors and are studying lung cancer in young patients to better understand the biology of this disease. We hope that this information can ultimately improve future diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

Join us

Join the Young Lung Study and help us to better understand lung cancer in people age 45 and younger.

Our goals are to learn more about:

  • Factors that may be related to lung cancer development in young adults
  • Changes in tumors that may affect treatment of lung cancer in young adults
  • Ways to better predict cancer risks for certain groups of patients

Lung cancer as a disease

Approximately 1-2% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are in patients 45 years old or younger. Very little is known about the causes of lung cancer in young patients, many of whom have not had significant exposure to tobacco smoke during their lifetimes. This study aims to investigate potential causes of these lung cancers, including possible genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

As advances in technology have allowed us to study the genetic structure of lung cancers, researchers have discovered that most lung cancers in young people contain genetic abnormalities that can be specifically targeted by a drug. This is much higher than the rates of targetable genetic abnormalities in the general lung cancer population, leading doctors and researchers to wonder if the development of lung cancer in younger patients is different from lung cancer in older patients.

Supporting younger patients’ needs

A cancer diagnosis is life-altering at any age. It can be especially difficult for young adults who have economic, professional, and family responsibilities that they may struggle to meet while undergoing lung-cancer diagnosis and treatment. They may wonder how to discuss their cancer with young children and significant others, and what impact their cancer will have on their lives and families. Please see our list of organizations that offer support.


The Young Lung Study is funded by private and public grants.

Other collaborators

Many physicians who are part of the Dana-Farber and Mass General Brigham Healthcare Network—or who are not in the network but take care of lung cancer patients—are encouraged to refer patients to the Young Lung Cancer Study.