What are the types of lung cancer?

Blood cells cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Most lung cancers are this type. There are three main types: 

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cancer starts in squamous cells, these cells line the inside of the airways of the lungs. Squamous cell carcinoma tends to be found in the central area of the lungs.
  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of lung cancer starts in cells that make mucous. Adenocarcinoma is usually found at the edge of your lungs. 
  • Large cell carcinoma: These are large round cancer cells that may appear in any part of your lung, and tend to spread quickly. 

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

About 1 in 7 of all lung cancers is this type. They tend to grow quickly. They usually form large tumours and often spread to lymph nodes and other organs such as your bones, brain, adrenal glands and liver. Another name for this type of cancer is oat cell


This rare cancer affects the protective linings that cover your lungs. Usually it happens when someone is exposed to a chemical called asbestos.

Read more about Mesothelioma.

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