Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develops when abnormal cells grow and proliferate in the tissues of your lungs. It is one of the two most common kinds of lung cancer, along with small cell lung cancer.


Non-small cell lung cancer is classified into three types, these include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma generally begins in squamous cells (the flat cells that line the lining of your airways) and develops in the center of your lungs. It is usually related to smoking history.
  • Large cell carcinoma. This kind of cancer, also known as undifferentiated carcinoma, may develop in any part of the lung. Because it grows and spreads fast, it is more difficult to cure.
  • Adenocarcinoma. This type of lung cancer develops in cells that release mucus and other chemicals. It generally starts in the outer parts of your lungs. It is also more likely to grow at a younger age than other kinds of lung cancer.


Signs and symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer are the following:

  • Coughing with blood
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen face or varicose veins in the neck


Your medical practitioner will examine and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Also, they will prescribe specific tests to detect and stage non-small cell lung cancer if they suspect it. Among these tests are:

  • Chest X-rays. This allows your doctor to examine what’s going on within your lungs.
  • Sputum cytology. This will examine a sample of mucus sucked up from your lungs.
  • CT scans. This test provides comprehensive, three-dimensional pictures of your organs, blood arteries, muscles, and bones.
  • Bronchoscopy. This enables your doctor to examine your airways.
  • Thoracoscopy or video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). This enables your doctor to see within your chest more clearly.


If the cancer is in its early stages, your doctor may suggest surgery as the first line of therapy. However,  surgery isn’t always an option, mainly if cancer spreads. Radiofrequency ablation, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted medication therapy, and immunotherapy are among more non-small cell lung cancer therapies.

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