It’s easy to think that lung cancer is one disease, but the truth is that there are many different types of lung cancer— each of which is very important to understand as they affect both your treatment options and your prognosis. At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC), our goal is to provide you with all the information you need in order to feel more confident and in control regarding your diagnosis.
Lung cancers are broadly classified into two types — small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) — which are then broken down into a specific subtype. Both small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer are named for the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells appear when viewed under a microscope. The cancer cells of each type grow and spread in different ways.
SCLC is a fast-growing cancer that accounts for about 10% to 15% of all lung cancers. It has two general types, which include:
Smoking tobacco is the major risk factor for developing 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, which include:
Other less common types of non-small cell lung cancer are pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma, and unclassified carcinoma.
Smoking can increase the risk of developing non-small cell lung cancer.
Other types of tumors can occur in the lungs, including:
RMCC understands that the information surrounding the types of lung cancer can be a lot to process. Know that we are here to answer any questions you may have about lung cancer in general or your individual situation.