What are the types of lung cancer?
Lung cancers are classified as small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This distinction depends on the microscopic nature of the tumor cells specifically the cell size. These two lung cancer types develop and spread in different ways and may have different treatment options so it is important to differentiate between these two types.
NSCLC are the most common types of lung cancers accounting for about 80%. These can be divided into many types that are named based upon the type of cells found in the tumor:
What are Adenocarcinomas?
These are the most frequently seen NSCLC type and account for 50% of all NSCLC. Although adenocarcinomas can be caused by smoking like other lung cancers, doctors often see this type in non-smokers. Many adenocarcinomas occur in the outer or peripheral lung regions.
What are Squamous cell carcinomas?
Formerly these were more common than adenocarcinomas. They currently account for around 30% of NSCLC. Squamous cell cancers also known as epidermoid carcinomas occur most common in the central chest region in the bronchi.
What are Large cell carcinomas?
These are also referred to as undifferentiated carcinomas and are the least common type of NSCLC. These account for 10-20% of all NSCLC. These are most common in the peripheral areas and are poorly marginated masses greater than 7cm in diameter.
What are Mixed NSCLCs?
These are the type of NSCLCs in which there can be mixture of different types of NSCLC.
What are Bronchial carcinoids?
They are typically small (3 cm-4 cm or less) when diagnosed and most often occur in people under age 40. Carcinoid tumors which are not associated with cigarette smoking may metastasize. A small proportion of these tumors secrete hormone-like substances that may cause different hormone-related symptoms. Carcinoids typically develop and spread more slowly than bronchogenic cancers and medical professionals detect many early enough for surgical resection to be appropriate.
What is Metastatic lung cancer?
Metastatic lung cancer develops when cells in the lungs break away from a tumor and migrate through the blood or lymph system to other areas of the body. Lung cancer may be metastatic during the diagnosis or after treatment. It is common for the cancer to metastasize before it is diagnosed as symptoms do not develop in the presence of lung cancer.