Lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis are common, yet distinct, pathological processes that represent urgent unmet medical needs. Striking clinical and mechanistic parallels exist between these distinct disease entities. The goal of this article is to examine lung fibrosis from the perspective of cancer-associated phenotypic hallmarks, to discuss areas of mechanistic overlap and distinction, and to highlight profibrotic mechanisms that contribute to carcinogenesis. Ultimately, we speculate that such comparisons might identify opportunities to leverage our current understanding of the pathobiology of each disease process in order to advance novel therapeutic approaches for both. We anticipate that such "outside the box" concepts could be translated to a more precise and individualised approach to fibrotic diseases of the lung.