The 84-year-old college football veteran was diagnosed last weekend and is undergoing treatment but "his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery," according to statement made by his son, Scott Paterno, to the Associated Press.
"As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment," Scott said.
The lung cancer was found when Paterno went for a follow-up visit with his doctor for a bronchial infection.
As RadarOnline.com has previously reported, the coach was fired on November 9 during his 46th season with the Nittany Lions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that has rocked the college.
Sandusky stands accused of molesting eight boys over 15 years, from 1994 to 2009.
He was arraigned on 40 criminal counts -- 21 of them felonies -- including multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, along with single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.
Penn State Scandal: Jerry Sandusky's Serial Sexual Abuse May Stretch Back To 1970s