Types of Lung Cancer
Lung cancers are broadly classified into two types (which are then broken down into a specific subtype):
- Small cell lung cancers (SCLC)
- Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC)
The difference between the two primary types of lung cancer is literally the size of the cancer cells. Small cell lung cancer cells appear small and round under a microscope while non-small cell lung cancer cells are larger.
Smoking is the primary cause of both types of lung cancer. Among those who are diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, 95% of them have a history of smoking according to a medical study by the Translational Lung Cancer Research Journal.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
SCLC is a fast-growing cancer that accounts for about 10% to 15% of all lung cancers. The two types of small cell lung cancer include:
- Small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer)
- Combined small cell carcinoma
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for about 80% to 85% of lung cancers. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer:
- Squamous cell carcinoma (epidermoid carcinoma)
- Large cell carcinoma
Other less common types of non-small cell lung cancer are pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma, and unclassified carcinoma.