Types of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

in Cancer

Lung cancer is serious. Among fatalities caused by cancer, it ranks number one, among both sexes. These deaths amounted to 1.3 million worldwide in 2004, and the number has probably increased since then.

Non Small Cell Lung Carcinoma is one of two major types of lung cancer, and the most common; the other being, as evident, Small Cell Lung Carcinoma. The main difference between them is the treatment. Non Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC) does not respond as well to chemotherapy and radiation as SCLC, and surgery is often required. Another point of difference is that NSCLC grows and spreads much slower than SCLC.

There are quite a few different types of NSCLC, but of them, there are three that are most prevalent:

  • Squamous-cell lung carcinoma: Smoking, or exposure to tobacco smoke over a long period of time, is the leading cause of lung cancer. Among types of lung cancer, squamous-cell lung carcinoma is the one that is most closely-related to a history of tobacco smoke exposure. It affects men more than women. This type of lung carcinoma can be present for years without showing symptoms. Often, benign masses or abnormal cell growths in the respiratory tract will be present for years before later turning into the carcinoma. Once the carcinoma develops, it is usually located in or by the air tubes inside the lungs.
  • Adenocarcinoma: One need not smoke to get lung cancer. Among those who have never smoked, adenocarcinoma is the leading type of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma is now also the commonest type of lung cancer in smokers (although squamous-cell lung carcinoma is closer-related with a history of smoking), together counting for 40% of lung cancer occurrence worldwide. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in both non-smokers and women. Among NSCLCs, the growth and spread of adenocarcinoma is usually slower, and as opposed to squamous-cell lung carcinomas, they are usually found on the outer areas of the lungs. Adenocarcinomas tend to metastasize, or spread to other parts, early on. This is usually accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing blood.
  • Large-cell lung carcinoma: A diagnosis of large-cell lung carcinoma is hard to make, and is usually arrived on when all other options have been ruled out. This type is responsible of about 5-10% of lung cancers. The main identifying characteristic of LCLC is the slightly larger size of associated cells, as compared to SCLC, and certain other differences. LCLC usually presents only with the patient experiencing dry coughs and weight loss.


Symptoms may not be present in the early stages of the disease, but may include persistent coughing (with possible blood), wheezing and shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue along with loss of appetite and weight.


Lung cancer is usually found through a variety of imaging scans (X-ray, MRI, PET, CT etc) that look for masses in the lung cavity. These tests can show the cancers directly and whether and how much they have spread. Further, a biopsy may be performed to confirm a diagnosis, followed by further imaging to ascertain the exact stage in the progression of the cancer.


The exact nature of the treatment depends on the determination of the stage of the disease, done during testing. NSCLC, as previously stated, does not respond very well to chemotherapy, and surgery is usually performed to remove specific tumors. Sometimes, it may be necessary to remove part or more of the lung. Chemotherapy may also sometimes be administered, before and after surgery, to improve the chances of success.

Where surgery is not possible, alternatives such as radiation, laser and photodynamic therapy also exist.

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mak collin has 1 articles online

NSCLC can be treated with the prescription medicine Avastin. Get in touch with your physician for the right dosage.

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Types of Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

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This article was published on 2011/05/20