Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality not only in the United States but also around the world. In North America, lung cancer has become more predominant among former than current smokers. Yet in some countries, such as China, which has experienced a dramatic increase in the cigarette smoking rate during the past 2 decades, a peak in lung cancer incidence is still expected. Approximately two-thirds of adult Chinese men are smokers, representing one-third of all smokers worldwide. Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for 85% of all lung cancer cases in the United States. After the initial diagnosis, accurate staging of non-small cell lung cancer using computed tomography or positron emission tomography is crucial for determining appropriate therapy. When feasible, surgical resection remains the single most consistent and successful option for cure. However, close to 70% of patients with lung cancer present with locally advanced or metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy is beneficial for patients with metastatic disease, and the administration of concurrent chemotherapy and radiation is indicated for stage III lung cancer. The introduction of angiogenesis, epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, and other new anti-cancer agents is changing the present and future of this disease and will certainly increase the number of lung cancer survivors. We identified studies for this review by searching the MEDLINE and PubMed databases for English-language articles published from January 1, 1980, through January 31, 2008. Key terms used for this search included non-small cell lung cancer, adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, bronchioalveolar cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, lung cancer epidemiology, genetics, survivorship, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, bevacizumab, erlotinib, and epidermal growth factor receptor.