The Different Types of Lung Cancer

There are a number of ways to classify a patient’s lung cancer. For example, types of lung cancer are classified by the type of cell involved with the cancer. Lung cancer stages, which are numerically ranked, are used to specify the size of a tumor as well as the degree to which the cancer has spread in the body. Treatment strategies will depend heavily on a patient’s type and stage of cancer.

The two main types of lung cancer identified by oncologists include:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer – This is the most common type, making up more than 85 percent of lung cancer diagnoses. It has three subtypes. Adenocarcinoma is the most common. It typically grows on the outside of the lungs and is the lung cancer most frequently seen in non-smokers. Squamous cell carcinoma generally develops inside one of the lungs’ air passageways. Large cell carcinoma can appear anywhere in or on a lung and is usually fast spreading.
  • Small-cell lung cancer – This type only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed lung cancers. It can be further classified as small cell carcinoma, which makes up the majority of this type of cancer, or combined small cell carcinoma, which is less common and can contain non-small cell cancer cells. This type of lung cancer tends to be faster growing than non-small cell lung cancer, presenting additional treatment challenges.

Tampa General Hospital provides outstanding treatment to patients who have been diagnosed with any type or stage of lung cancer. TGH clinicians takes a team approach to cancer care and uses the most advanced technologies and techniques in an effort to provide our patients with successful treatment outcomes. Treatments for specific types of lung cancer can vary from patient to patient, and the team at TGH will form a specialized plan tailored to a patient’s individual needs. For a physician referral, please call (813) 844-2200 or use our PhysicianFinder tool.