The lungs are the part of the respiratory system. The cells in the lungs do have a tendency to change and can grow or stop behaving normally. Some of these cells can grow into benign tumors that are non cancerous and some can grow into cancer. These cells can destroy the nearby tissue and can also spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer is also divided into its different types and grades which are explained below.

What are the different types of lung cancer?

The type of lung cancer that a person has can help doctors understand the cell that the cancer started in. Lung cancer is of two common types, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Lung cancer can also be of the primary and secondary type depending on the origin of cancer. Primary lung cancer is the one that starts in the lungs and secondary lung cancer is the kind of cancer that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the lungs.

  • Small cell lung cancer

This type of cancer has been characterized by small cells that multiply very quickly  and form large tumors that spread throughout the body. This kind of cancer is often seen in smokers. This is also known as oat cell cancer, it constitutes about 10-15% of all lung cancer.

  • Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer constitutes about 80% of the lung cancer cases are are further classified into four different types depending on the cell of origin.

  • Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma forms the mucus-producing glands and is the most common type of cancer that is seen in women and non-smokers.

  • Bronchi alveolar carcinoma

This type of cancer forms near the air sacs of the lungs

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes, commonly seen in smokers.

  • Large cell carcinoma

Large cell carcinomas form near the outer edges or surface of the lungs. This type of cancer is less common.

Other types of lung cancer

  • Pancoast tumors

Pancoast tumors are the kind that affect the top part of the lungs.

  • Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the kind of cancer that affect the covering of the lungs which is known as the pleura.


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