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Lung cancer types

There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NCSCLC accounts for nearly nine out of every 10 cases and typically grows at a slower rate than SCLC.

SCLC tends to be more aggressive and spread more rapidly than NSCLC. Treatment options vary, depending on which type of lung cancer you have.

cancer types

Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for nearly nine out of every 10 cases, and usually grows at a slower rate than SCLC. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer:

  • Squamous cell: This type of lung cancer is found centrally in the lung and is generally linked to smoking. This type of lung cancer is responsible for about 30 percent of all non-small cell lung cancers, and is found centrally in the lung where the larger bronchi join the trachea to the lung, or in one of the main airway branches.

  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer, accounting for 30-35 percent of all cases overall and about half of all non-small cell lung cancer occurrences. Adenocarcinoma is found in the outer region of the lung.

  • Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma: Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma lung cancer grows and spreads quickly and can be found anywhere in the lung. This type of lung cancer usually accounts for 10 – 15 percent of all cases. NSCLC, large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma tends to grow and spread quickly.

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Our experts answer frequently asked questions about lung cancer.