Lung cancer

Mathilde Regnault
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in France. Epidemiological data, risk factors, available treatments, status of research, treatment at Institut Curie... All the information you need is in this information file.

Understanding how the lungs work


A review of how the lungs work, exchanging gas between our body and the outside.

The lungs are located in the chest on each side of the heart, protected by the thoracic cavity and separated from one another by an area known as the mediastinum. The right lung comprise three lobes (upper, middle and lower) while the left lung has just two lobes (upper and lower).

The role of the lungs is to perform exchange of carbon gas and oxygen between the ambient air and the human body. When breathing in, the air comes in through the trachea and is distributed in the bronchi, then the bronchioles and lastly the alveoli. The oxygen contained in the air crosses the wall of the alveoli in order to enter the blood.

The blood then distributes the oxygen to all the body’s cells.

At the same time, in the other direction, the carbon gas rejected by the body’s cells crosses the alveoli then passes through the bronchioles and lastly the bronchi.

It exits through the trachea then through the nose and the mouth. This is expiration.