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Conditions and Cancer Types

Cancer arising from lung tissue is called lung cancer. Normal lung tissue is a soft sponge like tissue filled with air pockets (alveoli). When there is an uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells due to genetic defect or repeated cell injury in them, cancer occurs and solid masses are formed that may clog up the airways causing cough or breathing difficulty or erode into the supplying blood vessels and cause blood in phlegm. Since lung is also a common site for metastatic cancer from other sites in the body, a distinction needs to be made whether the cancer arose primarily from lung or spread to it from another primary lesion in the body.

Types of Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is largely classified into two main types based on the cancer′s appearance under a microscope viz. Small Cell Carcinoma which accounts for only 20% of the total lung cancers and Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) which accounts for 80% of lung cancers.

  • Small cell carcinoma : It generally starts in one of the larger breathing tubes, grows fairly rapidly, and is likely to be large by the time of diagnosis.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) : It is further classified into the following:
    • Epidermoid carcinoma or Squamous cell carcinoma : It forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes and it usually starts from one of the larger breathing tubes and grows relatively slowly.
    • Adenocarcinoma : It starts forming in the mucus-producing glands of the lungs. It is most common type of lung cancer that occurs in Women and Non-smokers.
    • Large cell carcinoma : This kind of NSCLC initiates near the surface of the lung and it grows rapidly.

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