Lung cancer

About lung cancer

Lung cancer is not one single disease. There are two main types of primary lung cancer, small-cell and non-small cell lung cancer, which behave and respond to treatment differently. It can be diagnosed in different stages of development and can develop in different parts of the lung and it can be diagnosed in both smokers and in lesser cases, non-smokers.

Lung Cancer

Diagram – Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Types of lung cancer

The two main types of lung cancer are:

  • Small cell lung cancer – a type of lung cancer made up of small round cells that form fleshy lumps and usually start in the larger airways of the lung
  • Non-small cell lung cancer – there are three different types of non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma (more commonly seen in the outer parts of the lung), large cell carcinoma (often arises in the larger air passages and has a tendency to spread outside the lung at an earlier stage) and squamous carcinoma (the most common type of lung cancer in the UK and often forms in the larger, more central airways)

About 15% of lung cancers (less than 1 in 5) are small cell; the rest are non-small cell.

Rarer types of lung cancer

There are a number of other rare types of cancer that can occur in the lungs:

  • Mesothelioma – these lung cancer cells are usually positioned in the lining of the lung and is the lung cancer closely associated with asbestos exposure
  • Carcinoid tumours – this is a rare tumour disease where the tumour develops from a special type of cells in the lung called neuroendocrine cells
  • Pancoast tumours – this is a rare tumour that grows at the top of the lung

The Trust offers rapid advice, diagnosis and treatment to patients displaying symptoms of a breast cancer and has a specialist lung team that will see you from referral from a GP to diagnose and treat your lung cancer.

Our Cancer Services team is here to support you every step of the way.

This lung cancer section on our website takes you through your lung cancer pathway within the Trust and provides you with the information and support you will need throughout your journey.