Lung Cancer

What is lung cancer?

  • There are two main types of primary lung cancer – small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Small cell lung cancer is usually caused by cancer; it is rare for someone who has never smoked to develop this type of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is fast-growing and can spread quickly.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer involves three main types. It is not always possible to identify which type someone has because when the cells are looked under a microscope, they are not developed enough or the biopsy does not contain enough cells. For this reason, it can become difficult to diagnose the different types of non-small cell lung cancer.
    The three main types of non-small cell lung cancer are:
    Squamous cell carcinoma – The most common type of lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the cells that line the airways. It is often caused by smoking.
    Adenocarcinoma – This develops from the cells that produce mucus in the lining of the airways. Adenocarcinoma is becoming more common.
    Large Cell Carcinoma – The name of this cancer originates from the large, rounded cells that are seen when they are examined under a microscope. It can also be known as undifferentiated carcinoma.
  • A less common type of cancer that can affect the pleura, the covering of the lungs, is called mesothelioma. This is a cancer of the membrane that covers the surface of the lungs and lines the inside of the chest.

Symptoms of lung cancer

  • A continuing cough or a change in a long-standing cough
  • A chest infection that does not improve
  • Breathlessness and/or wheezing
  • Coughing up blood-stain phlegm
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • A hoarse voice
  • A sharp pain when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Loss of appetite and loss of weight
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes (glands) in the neck area

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