The lungs are organs in our chest that we use to breathe. They are made up of tiny building blocks known as cells. When these cells begin to grow out of control, it is called lung cancer.1
There are two types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell.
Non-small cell lung cancer (often abbreviated to NSCLC) is the most common type – 85% of all lung cancers are NSCLCs. Depending on where in the lung the cancer starts growing, you might also hear some of these words and terms from your doctor too:1,2
This type of cancer can affect people who used to smoke and people who haven’t smoked before. It starts in the cells that make mucus in your lungs and often starts growing on the outer edges of the lungs (but can be found further in too).1
This type is often linked to people who have a history of smoking. They tend to grow on the cells that line the tubes that carry air into your lungs (the bronchi).1
This is the rarest type of NSCLC. Large cell tumours spread early and can start anywhere in the lungs.1
NSCLC can cause lots of different symptoms. Here, we tell you a bit more about these and give you some advice on how to manage them.
You’ll probably have a few different tests and scans after your diagnosis – these help your doctor learn more about your cancer so they can work with you to draw up a treatment plan.
Changes to DNA can cause some cancers to start growing. ALK+, RET+, and ROS1+ are examples of these changes.