Lung CancerLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both women and men in the United States and throughout the world. Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. In the United States in 2007, 160,390 people were projected to die from lung cancer, which is more than the number of deaths from colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer combined. Only about 2% of those diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to other areas of the body are alive five years after the diagnosis, although the survival rates for lung cancers diagnosed at a very early stage are higher, with approximately 49% surviving for five years or longer.
Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation that causes them to grow and multiply without the normal controls. The cells form a mass or tumor that differs from the surrounding tissues from which it arises. Tumors are dangerous because they take oxygen, nutrients, and space from healthy cells.
Types of LUNG CANCERThere are two main types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. These names refer to how the cancers look under a microscope to a pathologist.
Most cancers are non-small cell. There are subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. Because different types of lung cancer are treated differently, your oncologist will determine exactly what treatment is best for you.
Remember, no matter what type or what stage of lung cancer you have, there are treatment options.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
NSCLC accounts for about 80% of lung cancers.
There are different types of NSCLC, including : -
- Squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma). This is the most common type of NSCLC. It forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes and is the most common type of lung cancer in men.
- Adenocarcinoma. This cancer is found in the glands of the lungs that produce mucus. This is the most common type of lung cancer in women and also among people who have not smoked.
- Bronchioalveolar carcinoma. This is a rare subset of adenocarcinoma. It forms near the lungs' air sacs. Recent clinical research has shown that this type of cancer responds more effectively to the newer targeted therapies.
- Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma. This cancer forms near the surface, or outer edges, of the lungs. It can grow rapidly.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)SCLC accounts for about 20% of all lung cancers. Although the cells are small, they multiply quickly and form large tumors that can spread throughout the body. Smoking is almost always the cause of SCLC.
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