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Home > Asbestos related diseases > Lung cancer > Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small lung cancer is the most widespread form of lung cancer. It includes such cancers as large cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.


Mucus cells are exposed to this form of cancer. It can be found all over the airways in the lung.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

It is usually found in the cells that line the airways and occurs mostly due to smoking. This is also the most common type of lung cancer.

Large Cell Carcinoma

The main distinguish of this disease from adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma is that proliferating cells are round and much larger. This type of cancer is also called undifferentiated lung cancer.

Bronchioalveolar Carcinoma (BAC)

This type of cancer is actually a subtype of adenocarcinoma. It develops in the bronchioalveolar region of the lung. It manifests as a layer of column-like cells on the lung. It causes great volumes of sputum spreading through the airways.

But there is more wide histologic classification of Non-small cell lung cancer.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Papillary
    • Clear cell
    • Small cell
    • Basaloid
  • Adenocarcinoma
    • Acinar
    • Papillary
    • Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma
      • Nonmucinous
      • Mucinous
      • Mixed mucinous and nonmucinous or indeterminate cell type
    • Solid adenocarcinoma with mucin
    • Adenocarcinoma with mixed subtypes
    • Variants
      • Well-differentiated fetal adenocarcinoma
      • Mucinous (colloid) adenocarcinoma
      • Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma
      • Signet ring adenocarcinoma
      • Clear cell adenocarcinoma
  • Large cell carcinoma
    • Large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma
    • Combined large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma
    • Basaloid carcinoma
    • Lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma
    • Clear cell carcinoma
    • Large-cell carcinoma with rhabdoid phenotype
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma
  • Carcinomas with pleomorphic, sarcomatoid or sarcomatous elements
    • Carcinomas with spindle and/or giant cells
    • Spindle cell carcinoma
    • Giant cell carcinoma
    • Carcinosarcoma
    • Pulmonary blastoma
  • Carcinoid tumor
    • Typical carcinoid
    • Atypical carcinoid
  • Carcinomas of salivary-gland type
    • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
    • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
    • Others
  • Unclassified carcinoma

Stages of Non-small cell lung cancer

- stage I: Cancer has not spread around the lung.

- stage II: There are evidences of cancer in or nearby lymph nodes.

- stage III: There are metastasis in structures near the lung, in the lymph nodes in the lower neck or in the other side of the chest or in mediastinum (the area that separates the two lungs). There is also a division of Stage III two stages: stage IIIA (usually can be resected) and stage IIIB (usually cannot be resected).

- stage IV: There are metastasis in other parts of the body.


It is necessary to understand if there is a chance to cure the cancer by removing it. 10-20% of patients are able to have surgery.

If you are fit enough to get through the surgery and cancer is still only in the lung then surgery may be an option

Three types of operation are usually used:


A lobe of the lung is cut away during this operation. Bilobectomy is an operation to cit away two lobes.

Wedge resection

A very small part of the lung is cut away during this operation.


The whole lung is taken away during the operation.

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