Lung Cancer Information


Lung Cancer Information – The Basics

Thank you for visiting L4L’s lung cancer information center. L4L aims to raise money in order to aid in the awareness, viagra 100mg prevention, sildenafil research and treatment of lung cancer. Unfortunately, lung cancer has been dubbed as the “smoker’s disease” and therefore (in our opinion) has not seen advances since 1971. Yup, you read that correctly, 1971. Help us to fight this deadly disease. I promise once you read through our lung cancer information pages you won’t need convincing from us.

But let’s start with the basics. The following information is provided by the American Cancer Society:

There are 2 major types of lung cancer:

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

If a lung cancer has characteristics of both types it is called a mixed small cell/large cell cancer. This is uncommon.

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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Information

About 85% to 90% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There are 3 main subtypes of NSCLC. The cells in these subtypes differ in size, shape, and chemical make-up when looked at under a microscope. But they are grouped together because the approach to treatment and prognosis (outlook) are very similar.

  • Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma: About 25% to 30% of all lung cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs. They are often linked to a history of smoking and tend to be found in the middle of the lungs, near a bronchus.
  • Adenocarcinoma: About 40% of lung cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of the cells that would normally secrete substances such as mucus. This type of lung cancer occurs mainly in people who smoke (or have smoked), but it is also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers. It is more common in women than in men, and it is more likely to occur in younger people than other types of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma is usually found in the outer region of the lung. It tends to grow slower than other types of lung cancer, and is more likely to be found before it has spread outside of the lung. People with the type of adenocarcinoma called adenocarcinoma in situ (previously called bronchioloalveolar carcinoma) tend to have a better outlook (prognosis) than those with other types of lung cancer.
  • Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma: This type of cancer accounts for about 10% to 15% of lung cancers. It may appear in any part of the lung. It tends to grow and spread quickly, which can make it harder to treat. A subtype of large cell carcinoma, known as large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, is a fast-growing cancer that is very similar to small cell lung cancer (see below).

Other subtypes: There are also a few other subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer, such as adenosquamous carcinoma and sarcomatoid carcinoma. These are much less common.

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Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small Cell Lung Cancer Information

About 10% to 15% of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancer (SCLC), named for the small cells that make up these cancers. Other names for SCLC are oat cell cancer, oat cell carcinoma, and small cell undifferentiated carcinoma.

SCLC often starts in the bronchi near the center of the chest, and it tends to spread widely through the body fairly early in the course of the disease (usually before it starts to cause symptoms). The cancer cells can multiply quickly and spread to lymph nodes and other organs, such as the bones, brain, adrenal glands, and liver. Sometimes the areas of cancer spread are seen as large tumors on x-rays and other imaging tests, but early on these areas may not be visible (but still there). SCLC spreads early, so removing the tumor in the lung rarely cures the cancer. This is why surgery is rarely used to treat SCLC (and never the only treatment given). On the other hand, chemotherapy, which can reach cancer cells throughout the body, is the main treatment for small cell lung cancers.

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Other Types

Other Types of Lung Cancer Information

Along with the 2 main types of lung cancer, other tumors can occur in the lungs. Carcinoid tumors of the lung account for fewer than 5% of lung tumors. Most are slow-growing tumors that are calledtypical carcinoid tumors. They are generally cured by surgery. Some typical carcinoid tumors can spread, but they usually have a better prognosis than small cell or non-small cell lung cancer. Less common are atypical carcinoid tumors. The outlook for these tumors is somewhere in between typical carcinoids and small cell lung cancer.

There are other, even more rare, lung tumors such as adenoid cystic carcinomas, hamartomas, lymphomas, and sarcomas. These tumors are treated differently from the more common lung cancers. Cancers that start in other organs (such as the breast, pancreas, kidney, or skin) can sometimes spread (metastasize) to the lungs, but these are not lung cancers. For example, cancer that starts in the breast and spreads to the lungs is still breast cancer, not lung cancer. Treatment for metastatic cancer to the lungs depends on where it started (the primary cancer site).

Please remember, Living For Liz is not licensed to practice medicine. This information was provided by the American Cancer Society.

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