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All about lung cancer types of lung cancer small cell lung cancer non-small cell lung cancer causes of lung cancer risk factors for lung cancer lung cancer symptoms diagnosis of lung cancer lung cancer stages lung cancer treatments treatment for small cell lung cancer non-small cell lung cancer treatment treatment for non-small cell lung cancer by stage lung cancer survival rate prevention of lung cancer asbestos lung cancer

What is non-small cell lung cancer?

Non-small cell lung cancers are categorized into five types: squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma), adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma. The five types of non-small cell lung cancer have different kinds of cancer cells. The cancer cells of each type grow and spread in different ways.

The types of non-small cell lung cancer are named for the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells look when viewed under a microscope:

Non-small cell lung cancer is a heterogeneous aggregate of at least 3 distinct histologies of lung cancer including epidermoid or squamous carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. These histologies are often classified together because, when localized, all have the potential for cure with surgical resection. Systemic chemotherapy can produce objective partial responses and palliation of symptoms for short durations in patients with advanced disease. Local control can be achieved with radiation in a large number of patients with unresectable disease, but cure is seen only in a small minority of patients.

Squamous cell carcinoma - Squamous cells are formed from reserve cells, which are round cells that replace injured or damaged cells in the lining (the epithelium) of the bronchi, the major airways. Tumors formed from squamous cells are usually found in the center of the lung, either in a major lobe or in one of the main airway branches. They may grow to large sizes and form cavities in the lungs. When squamous cell cancer metastasizes, it may travel to the bone, adrenal glands, liver, small intestine, and brain. Squamous cell carcinoma is nearly always caused by smoking and used to be the most common cancer. It still makes up between 25% and 40% of all lung cancers.

Adenocarcinoma - Adenocarcinomas usually arise from the mucus-producing cells in the lung; about two-thirds of adenocarcinomas develop in the outer regions of the lung, while one-third develops centrally. In 1965, 12% of lung cancers were adenocarcinomas. They are now estimated to account for 30% to 50% of all lung cancers and may even be the most common. It is the predominant lung cancer in women. In fact, a 2000 multicenter European study showed that nearly 34% of the women with lung cancer under investigation presented with adenocarcinoma, compared to 26.4% with squamous cell carcinoma and 22.3% with small cell lung cancer. (Adenocarcinoma is also increasing dramatically in men.)

Large cell carcinoma - Cancer in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope. This type of cancer accounts for about 10% - 15% of lung cancers. It may appear in any part of the lung, and it tends to grow and spread quickly resulting in a poor prognosis. This form of lung cancer has fewer structural characteristics when viewed under a microscope. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish this form of lung cancer from cancers which have spread to the lung from another place in the body.

Adenosquamous carcinoma - Cancer that begins in cells that look flattened when viewed under a microscope. These cells also have glandular (secretory) properties. Adenosquamous carcinoma is an extremely rare malignant neoplasm that simultaneously arises from surface mucosal epithelium and salivary gland ductal epithelium. It shows histopathologic features of both squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Only a handful of reports have discussed this tumor.

Undifferentiated carcinoma - Cancer cells that do not look like normal cells and multiply uncontrollably.

More information on lung cancer

What is lung cancer? - Lung cancer is a malignant tumour of the lungs. Lung cancer is the cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths.
What types of lung cancer are there? - The lungs are made up of several kinds of cells that perform different functions. The type of lung cancer depends on which cell type is affected.
What is small cell lung cancer? - Small cell lung cancer is a type of lung cancer in which the cells look like oats. Small cell lung cancer is almost always caused by smoking.
What is non-small cell lung cancer? - Non-small cell lung cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma.
What causes lung cancer? - Cigarette smoking is the most significant cause of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer. Lung diseases create a risk for lung cancer.
What're the risk factors for lung cancer? - Risk factors for lung cancer include tobacco smoking, marijuana, asbestos, radon, lung diseases, radiation therapy, work-related exposure to substances.
What're the signs and symptoms of lung cancer? - Lung cancer may cause a number of symptoms. The primary symptoms of lung cancer are cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness, blood in the sputum, and pain.
How is lung cancer diagnosed? - Diagnosis of lung cancer may be made by physical examination, chest X rays, bronchoscopy, or percutaneous needle biopsy. Lung biopsy is the most definitive diagnostic tool for cancer.
What're the lung cancer stages? - Lung cancer is staged according to its location, size, cell type, and spread. Knowing the stage of lung cancer helps the doctor set the treatment plan.
What're the treatments for lung cancer? - The treatment of lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease and includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
What's the treatment for small cell lung cancer? - At limited stage treatments for small cell lung cancer include various combinations of chemotherapy, radiation.
What's the treatment for non-small cell lung cancer? - Surgery is the primary treatment for all non¨Csmall cell lung cancers. Radiation therapy may be administered.
Treatment for non-small cell lung cancer by stage - Stage III non-small cell lung cancer are treated with radiation and sometimes with surgery, chemotherapy, or combinations of each.
What's the prognosis of lung cancer survival rate? - The prognosis of lung cancer depends on the type of lung cancer, its stage, and the overall health of the patient.
How to prevent lung cancer? - Prevention of lung cancer includes quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to potentially cancer-causing substances in the work environment.
Asbestos lung cancer - The most serious hazard of exposure to asbestos is cancer. Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005