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Lung Cancer

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Types of Lung Cancers

The following table lists the different types of lung cancers.

Type of Lung Cancer Percentage of Lung Cancers Comments
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 85-90% Most cases of lung cancer are in this category.
  • Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma
25-30% Squamous cells are flat cells that are normally found in the skin, mouth and throat but not the lungs. They develop in the lungs in response to ongoing injury; this type of lung cancer is primarily seen in smokers.
  • Adenocarcinoma
40% This is cancer that originates in the cells that secrete mucus; mainly seen in current or former smokers but is also the most common type seen in non-smokers.
  • Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma
10-15% This type tends to grow and spread quickly. It also occurs mainly in smokers.
  • Various subtypes
Much less common Examples include adenosquamous carcinoma and sarcomatoid carcinoma.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) 10-15% Also known as oat cell cancer and small cell undifferentiated carcinoma; this type is primarily seen in smokers.
Lung carcinoid tumors Less than 5% Most often are slow-growing.
Other tumors found in the lungs Rare Examples include sarcomas, lymphomas.

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