This guideline covers diagnosing and managing non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancers in children, young people and adults. It aims to improve outcomes for patients by raising awareness of causes, symptoms and signs of lung cancer and ensuring testing, treatment and follow-up care is consistent.

In June 2015, recommendations 1.1.2 to 1.1.5 were replaced by section 1.1 in suspected cancer: recognition and referral.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • People with lung cancer and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in March 2016 and we are updating the recommendations on diagnosis and staging, effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for treatment of non‑small‑cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the first-line treatment of limited-stage and extensive-stage small‑cell lung cancer (SCLC). See the guidelines in development page for progress on the update.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG24 (February 2005).

This guideline was previously called lung cancer: the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)