Over 1.5 million people worldwide die from lung cancer per year. The disease has an extremely poor prognosis and there has been no improvement in the 5-year survival rate in the last 30 years. Unfortunately currently available treatments do not prevent the relentless progression of the disease. There has been lack of optimism regarding treatment advances in the last ten years, and progress in treating or predicting the risk for lung cancer has been slow. Ongoing efforts to improve the survival of patients with lung cancer should be centered on achieving an earlier diagnosis in addition to developing new targeted or individualized therapies for the disease.