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Lung cancer types

There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small lung cancer (NSCLC). Non-small cell and small cell lung cancers are classified according to cell size and type. NSCLC accounts for nearly nine out of every 10 cases.

SCLC tends to be more aggressive and spread more rapidly than NSCLC. Therefore, your treatment options will be different, depending on which type of lung cancer you have.

cancer types

Small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer, which is often referred to as "oat cell" lung cancer because the cells resemble oats under the microscope, begins in the lung tissue. Unlike most non-small cell lung cancer, it often spreads quickly. SCLC accounts for less than 20 percent of lung cancers.

The two stages of small cell lung cancer are limited and extensive. The testing and staging process will determine you cancer stage.

Small cell lung cancer treatment options

Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the main treatment options for small cell lung cancer. This type of lung cancer is typically found in both lungs, which often requires that radiation therapy or chemotherapy follow surgery. Laser therapy, which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells, also can be used to treat SCLC.

We're here to guide you through the cancer journey

We understand you may be feeling overwhelmed with questions and concerns about your type of cancer and what it all means. We're here to help guide you through the process.

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Our experts answer frequently asked questions about lung cancer.

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