Reviewed by Jeffrey Kern, MD, Laurie L. Carr, MD

Lung cancers start in the lung. There are several types of lung cancer. They include non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and carcinoid lung tumors.

  • Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer. There are three sub-types of non-small cell cancer; squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell undifferentiated carcinoma. What the cancer looks like under the microscope allows the pathologist to assign the lung cancer to a particular type. Knowing these subtypes of cancer is becoming more important as research is becoming more targeted toward specific tumor types.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer: Small cell lung cancer is less common and a faster growing type of lung cancer.
  • Carcinoid Lung Tumors: Carcinoid lung tumors are a rare, slow-growing form of lung cancer.

Your doctor will discuss with you the type of lung cancer found. This is important because lung cancer treatment is based on the type and possibly the sub-type of lung cancer you have.

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