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Lung Cancer

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is a disease in which the cells of the lung tissues grow uncontrollably and form tumors. Lung Cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among both men and women in the United States. There are two main types of lung cancer.

Types of lung cancer

There are two kinds of lung cancers. The two main kinds are primary and secondary. Primary lung cancer starts in the lung itself. Primary lung cancer is divided into small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, depending on how the cells look under the microscope. Each type of Primary lung cancer grows and spreads in different ways. Secondary lung cancer is cancer that starts somewhere else in the body (for example, the breast or colon) and spreads to the lungs.

Small cell cancer was formerly called oat cell cancer, because the cells resemble oats in their shape. About a fourth of all lung cancers are small cell cancers. This type is a very aggressive cancer and spreads to other organs within a short time. It is generally found in people who are heavy smokers.

Non-small cell cancers account for about 75% of lung cancers. This type of lung cancer grows and spreads more slowly than small cell cancer. There are three main types of nonsmall cell lung cancer. The types are named for the type of cell in which the cancer develops. The types are: squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma), adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

There are many symptoms and each individual may not experience all symptoms.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • A cough that does not go away,
  • Chest pain,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Persistent hoarseness,
  • Swelling of the neck and face,
  • Significant weight loss that is not due to dieting or vigorous exercise;
  • fatigue and loss of appetite,
  • Bloody or brown-colored spit or phlegm (sputum),
  • Unexplained fever,
  • Recurrent lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Cause of Lung Cancer

Effects of Treatment

Can lung cancer be prevented?

Yes. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke or to quit smoking if you have already started. Secondhand smoke from other people's tobacco should also be avoided.


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