This is the first comprehensive history of lung cancer, once considered a rare condition and today the leading cause of cancer deaths world-wide. We are used to associating cancer treatment with scientific progress, but a patient diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 is no more likely to survive the disease for five or more years than a patient undergoing lung cancer surgery in the 1950s. A breakthrough has remained elusive for this condition, now firmly associated with the smoking of cigarettes. Drawing on many unpublished and little-used sources, this book tells the history of lung cancer, of doctors and patients, hopes and fears, expectations and frustrations over the past 200 years, as a rare chest affliction transformed into a major killer. Suggesting that lung cancer is not the only recalcitrant disease, Timmermann asks what happens when medical progress does not seem to make much difference.