Your diagnosis

Lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

What are lung cancer and NSCLC?

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  

1. Adenocarcinoma

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

2. Squamous cell carcinoma

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

3. Undifferentiated or large cell carcinoma

This is the rarest type of NSCLC. Large cell tumours spread early and can start anywhere in the lungs.1

Click on one of the options below to learn more about your NSCLC diagnosis

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase
Non-small cell lung cancer
Rearranged during transfection
C-ros oncogene 1

  1. American Cancer Society. What is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer? 2016. Available from: Last accessed July 2021. 
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Classification of Tumours: Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus and Heart. Third edition, Volume 10. Chapter 1, WHO Press. 2004. 
  3. American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer, 2016. Available from: Last accessed July 2021. 
  4. American Cancer Society. Tests for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, 2017. Available from: Last accessed July 2021. 
  5. Carper MB and Claudio PP. Clin Transl Med 2015; 4: 33.