Lung cancer is a severe form of malignant tumor that usually begins to form in the lungs of individuals in their mid-fifties or sixties. There are 2 types whose diagnosis are based on the same principles, but sometimes require different treatment the fact they grow and spread differently in the body. Please see lung cancer treatment options.
1) Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC). This is the most dangerous form of the disease. The good news, however, it represents about 20% of all cases. See our small cell lung cancer (SCLC) section for additional information.
2) Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This is the most common type of lung cancers; its cancerous cells do not appear microscopically small, unlike the other form. The tumor is account for about 80% of cases, and it is detected and treated more easily than small cell cancers. Even without treatment, it tends develop more slowly.
Common small cell lung cancer symptoms include persistent c ough, coughing up blood (immediate medical care is required), shortness of breath, chest pain. Please see lung cancer symptoms and warning signs for more info.
NSCLC includes 3 subgroups: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large undifferentiated carcinoma cells. There are other forms, much rarer: large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC), which is up to 4 times more common in men than in women; carcinoid tumors, a type of neuroendocrine tumor, which develop in the cells of the nervous and endocrine system; and cylindromas or muco-epidermoid tumors, a very rare subtype of non-small cell lung cancer forming in the trachea and bronchi cells.
- a) Bronchial Adenocarcinoma– This form of lung cancer is responsible for approximately 40% of all NSCLC. It is most commonly diagnosed in non-smokers and women. Today, smokers are increasingly diagnosed with this form of lung cancer. According to latest epidemiological findings, this increase would be associated with smoking habits. Bronchial adenocarcinoma category includes tumors of several subtypes including bronchioloalveolar carcinoma which develops from the cells constituting the alveoli.
- b) Squamous Cell Carcinoma– Squamous cell carcinomas account for approximately 40% of all NSCLC cases. The tumors usually develop in the bronchi in the central part of the lung. This is another form of pulmonary tumor strongly linked to tobacco. Regardless of the lung cancer treatment recommended, the patients need to quit smoking to see any good results. Yet, more than 50% of patients do not quit smoking after the diagnosis.
- c) Large Cell Carcinoma– This form of lung cancer is less common, responsible for less than 20% of NSCLC. It is estimated that 90% of large cell carcinoma cases are related to smoking. The tumor can be located anywhere in the lungs. It differs from other forms mainly due to its indiscriminate nature. In addition, growth of the large cell carcinomas is more rapid than that of the other forms of NSCLC.