Lung Cancer

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Lung cancer starts when cells of the lung become abnormal and begin to grow out of control. As more cancer cells develop, they can form into a tumor and spread to other areas of the body.

The 2 main types of lung cancer are:

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which is sometimes called oat cell cancer. About 10% to 15% of lung cancers are SCLC.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which makes up about 80% to 85% of lung cancers. The 3 main types of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Small cell and non-small cell lung cancers are treated differently. The information here focuses on small cell lung cancer. See Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell) for information about that type of lung cancer.

Other types of lung cancer and tumors

Lung carcinoid tumors: Less than 5% of lung tumors are carcinoid tumors of the lung. Most of these grow slowly. For more information about these tumors, see Lung Carcinoid Tumor.

Other lung tumors: Other types of lung cancer such as adenoid cystic carcinomas, lymphomas, and sarcomas, as well as benign lung tumors such as hamartomas are rare. These are treated differently from the more common lung cancers and are not discussed here.

Treatment-

Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):

Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, the main treatment options for people with SCLC include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

Palliative treatments can also be used to help with symptoms.

Sometimes, more than one of type of treatment is used. If you have SCLC, you will probably get chemotherapy if you are healthy enough. If you have limited stage disease, radiation therapy and – rarely – surgery may be options as well.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC):

Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment options for people with NSCLC can include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapies
  • Immunotherapy

Palliative treatments can also be used to help with symptoms.

Lung Carcinoid Tumors:

After the lung carcinoid tumor is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. The main factors in selecting a treatment are the type of carcinoid, the size and location of the tumor, whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs, and if you have any other serious medical conditions. Based on these factors, the main treatment options for people with lung carcinoid tumors can include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Other drug treatments
  • Radiation therapy

These treatments might be used alone or in different combinations, depending on the type and extent of the disease.

Resources:

https://www.cancer.org/