What are the different types of lung cancer?

The two broad classes of lung cancer are non-small-cell lung carcinoma and small-cell lung carcinoma. The three main subtypes of non-small-cell cancer are adenocarcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma and large-cell carcinoma. The reason they are sub classified is mainly for treatment options.

There are four types of lung cancer. These are:

  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Lung carcinoid or neuroendocrine tumors
  • Mesothelioma

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 80 to 85 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). About 14 percent of all new cancers are lung cancers.

Dr. Jay M. Lee, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgeon

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The subtypes are based on the way the cancer cells look under a microscope. This is determined by a pathologist. Non-small cell lung cancer is much more common than small cell lung cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.