Cancer Information

Types of Lung Cancer

Lungs Cancers are divided into two major types, depending on how the cells look under a microscope-

  • Non-small cell lung cancer

  • Small cell lung cancer

Each type of lung cancer grows and spreads in different ways and is treated differently.

Nonsmall cell lung cancer - is more common than small cell lung cancer, and it generally grows and spreads more slowly. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer-

  • Squamous cell carcinoma or epidermoid carcinoma

  • Adenocarcinoma

  • Large cell carcinoma.

Small cell lung cancer - is also known as oat cell cancer and is less common than non-small cell lung cancer. It grows more quickly and is more likely to spread to other organs in the body.


  •  A chronic cough that gradually worsens

  •  Constant chest pain

  •  Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)

  •  Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness

  •  Repeated attacks of chest infections (pneumonia or bronchitis)

  • Swelling (edema) of the neck and face

  •  Loss of appetite or weight loss, fatigue

*These symptoms could be caused by lung cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor.

Staging of Lung Cancer:

A two stage system formulated by the Veterans Administration Lung Cancer Study Group is commonly used for staging small cell lung cancer patients.

Limited stage disease -Tumor confined to the one side of thorax (hemithorax), the mediastinum, and the supraclavicular nodes, which can be encompassed within a “tolerable” radiation therapy port.

Extensive stage disease

Extensive stage small cell lung cancer means tumor that is too widespread to be included within the definition of limited stage disease above. Patients with distant metastases (M1) are always considered to have extensive stage disease.