Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a type of lung cancer that makes up about 85% of all lung cancer cases. It occurs when normal cells in the lungs mutate and grow out of control, forming a mass of abnormal cells. The term “non-small cell” refers to the size and shape of the cancer cells, which are larger and less round than the cells in small cell lung cancer.
There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of non-small cell lung cancer, accounting for about 40% of cases. It usually begins in the outer parts of the lung and can be slow-growing.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cancer usually begins in the lining of the bronchial tubes and accounts for about 25-30% of non-small cell lung cancers. It tends to grow more quickly than adenocarcinoma.
- Large cell carcinoma: This is a less common type of non-small cell lung cancer, accounting for about 10-15% of cases. It can start anywhere in the lung and tends to grow quickly.
Risk factors for developing NSCLC include smoking (including secondhand smoke), exposure to radon or other cancer-causing chemicals, and a history of lung disease. Symptoms of NSCLC can include a persistent cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Treatment for NSCLC may involve surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy (which uses drugs to specifically target cancer cells), or a combination of these treatments. The choice of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. Prognosis for NSCLC depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health.