Lung cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the lung. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. These types are based on the way the cells look under a microscope. Non-small cell lung cancer is much more common than small cell lung cancer.
These main types of lung cancer are broken down further based on the kinds of cells found in the cancer. The cancer cells of each type grow and spread in different ways.
Types of non-small cell lung cancer include:
- Squamous cell carcinoma, also called epidermoid carcinoma
- Large cell carcinoma
- Adenocarcinoma, and
- Several other, less common carcinomas
Types of small cell lung cancer include:
- Small cell carcinoma, also called oat cell cancer, and
- Combined small cell carcinoma