The type of lung cancer you have tells you the cell of origin. This helps the doctor decide the appropriate treatment plan.
Primary lung cancer is when cancer has originated from the lung.
The different types of primary lung cancer are divided into two main types:
The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell cancer.
15 to 20% of all lung cancers are of the small cell type. The leading cause for small cell carcinoma is smoking, and these cancers usually spread early on.
80 to 85% of people with lung cancer have non-small cell lung cancer. The main types of non-small cell carcinoma are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
These cancers are grouped together because they progress in a similar manner, and they all respond to the same treatment.
Adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of non-small cell lung cancer. These cancers are usually seen at the periphery of the lung. This originates from the mucus-producing cells of the lungs.
Squamous cell carcinoma: These cancers tend to grow near the centre of the lung and arise from the cells that line the airways.
Large cell carcinoma: This is relatively less common, and on microscopy, the cells are large and round.
Treatment for such tumours is different from other non-small cell cancers.
Treatment for a patient with lung cancer is decided based on the histology, stage, general health, and comorbidities of the patient. Investigations of patients with suspected lung cancer are done to identify the sub-type and to determine the length of the spread of the disease.
Dr. Pragnya Coca, Consultant Medical Oncology, Oncology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore
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