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What are the different types of non-small cell lung cancer?

There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer:
  • Adenocarcinoma makes up about 40% of lung cancers. This type usually starts along the outer edges of the lungs in the small airways. People with a type of adenocarcinoma called adenocarcinoma in situ (previously called bronchioloalveolar carcinoma) generally do better than those who have other types of lung cancer. This type may be seen in both smokers and nonsmokers.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma makes up about 25-30% of lung cancers. These tumors are usually found in the middle of the lungs, near a major airway. It's almost always caused by smoking. Squamous cell carcinoma most often starts in cells of the central airway (bronchi), the largest branch of the lung's passages.
  • Large-cell (undifferentiated) carcinomas are a group of cancers with large, abnormal-looking cells. They may appear in any part of the lung.
There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer:
  • Adenocarcinoma, which is typically found in the outer parts of the lung, comprises about 40 percent of all lung cancers. 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, which is typically found in the cells in the airways, comprises 25 to 30 percent of all lung cancers. 
  • Large cell carcinoma, which can be found anywhere in the lungs, typically comprises 10 to 15 percent of all lung cancers. 
There are also some lesser common subtypes of non-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.