Lung Cancer Types

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Lung Cancer Types

Lung cancer is a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the lung tissues. In case it is left untreated, the growth spreads beyond the lungs in a process known as metastasis into the rest of the body and adjacent tissues. There are differences in lung cancer that started in the lungs and the type of cancer that spreads to the lungs from other parts of the body.

Cancer that started in the lungs

These are the lung cancer types that primarily start within the lungs and they are primarily called lung cancer. They are of different types and they are divided into two groups of lung cancer types:

          . Small cell lung cancer

          . Non small cell lung cancer

The small cell lung cancer- among 18 out of a 100 cancers that are diagnosed are of this type. It is named as small cell lung cancer because when it is looked under a microscope, the cancer cells looks small and they are mostly filled nucleus which is the control centre of the body cells. This type of cancer is also known as oat cell cancer. It’s the type of cancer that is usually caused from smoking. This type of cancer can rarely affect a person who has never smoked in his life. This kind of cancer usually spreads very early and doctors will often recommended one to go for chemotherapy treatment instead of surgery.

The non small cell lung cancer- here are 3 lung cancer types that are common. These three are grouped together because they behave in a similar manner and they respond to treatment in different ways as compared to small cell lung cancer. In UK, they make up about 78 % of all lung cancers. They include:

        . Large cell carcinoma

        . Adenocarcinoma

        . Squamous cell carcinoma

In most cases, it is not easy for one to know the kind of non small lung cancer that one has. This is not possible unless some few cells are taken during biopsy. It becomes more difficult for one to realize which type non small lung cancer one is suffering from in case the cells are not developed. The cells of cancer that are not developed or are underdeveloped are called undifferentiated cells. Thus, the doctor will say that one has undifferentiated kind of non small cell lung cancer. But this will not make any much difference with the kind of treatment that you receive as most of these kinds of cancers are treated almost in the same way. 

Squamous cell cancer

This is the most common cancer that affects most people. It develops from the cells that line on the airway and they are often found in the center of the main airways of the lungs. It is usually caused by smoking.


This also develops on the cells that line the airway and it develops from a certain cell that produces phlegm (mucus). This type of cancer is usually found in the outer parts of the lungs. This type of cancer is increasing to affect many people.

Large cell carcinoma

This type of cancer is called so because its cells look large as well as rounded when they are looked under a microscope. This is the type of cancer that usually tends to grow fast.

Cancer that spreads into the lungs

This is also called secondary cancer if it spreads from the outer of the lungs to the lungs. There are quite very few types of cancers that can spread into the lungs, including bowel cancer and breast cancer. In case you are diagnosed with having lung cancer and you had already had another type of cancer, then you should ask your doctor whether the type of cancer that is stated has spread into the lungs or it started from the lungs. In case you have secondary cancer, then you need to look at its origin. For example, in case you have breast cancer that came from the lungs, then it is crucial to look at information about breast cancer. The type of treatment you get depends on where the cancer came from. In case the cancer spread from the breast to the lungs, then the cancer cells are of the breast and not lung cancer cells. Thus, they will respond well to treatments of breast cancer. 


This is a rare type of lung cancer and it affects the pleura (lung covering). It is usually caused due to exposure to asbestos. This is totally different from lung cancer.
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  1. Thanks for sharing most valuable information. One important part in it that tumor that we can't neglect means rare tumors that can present in the lungs. Tumors that begin in tissue other lung tissue are occasionally found in the lungs. Some tumors that can present in the lungs include sarcomas, hamartomas, and lymphomas.

  2. I had heard and was only aware about Small cell lung cancer & Non small cell lung cancer and didn't have any knowledge about its sub types.
    Thanks for making me known.

    Consultant Gastroenterologist London