There are two main types of lung cancer that can be found in both men women. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Small Cell Lung Cancer, both which are unique to each other as they grow and spread within the body differently.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
NSCLC is the more common of the two lung cancers, and is attributed to about 85% of all cases found in a patient. It tends to grow and spread at a much slower pace than small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and is broken down into three main sub-types, all which have their own unique cancer cells.
1. Squamous Cell Caricinoma (epidermoid caricinoma) is attributed to about 25-30% of all cases found. It is made up from thin flat cells (similar to fish scales) that line the inside airways of the lung, and begins in the squamous cells in the centre of the lung.
2. Adenocaricinoma is attributed to about 35-40% of all cases found, mainly in smokers, although it is also found in non-smokers as well. It begins in the cells that have glandular (secretory) properties, and grows slowly in the outer-region of the lung. It is more common in women than men, and more likely to be found in a younger person. Patients with this type of cancer usually tend to have a better prognosis (life expectancy).
3. Large Cell (Undifferentiated) Caricinoma is attributed to about 10-15% of all cases found. It grows and spreads quickly as its cells multiply rapidly. When viewed under a microscope, the cells have an abnormal look to them compared to other types of cancer cells.
Adenosquamous Caricinoma and Sarcomatoid Carcinoma are also sub-types of NSCLC, although they are very rarely found in a patient.
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
SCLC is much less common than NSCLC, and only attributes to about 10-15% of all cases found. It tends to grow and spread much faster than other types of cancer, and is broken down into three types, each which contain different cell types.
Small Cell Caricinoma (oat cell cancer) is a highly malignant cancer that is usually found in the lung, although it can be found in other parts of the body as well, such as the cervix, prostate, and gastrointestinal tract.
Mixed Small/Large Cell Caricinoma is a rare form of lung cancer, which when diagnosed is formed from both oat cell cancer, and large cell caricinoma.
Combined Small Cell Caricinoma is diagnosed when a malignant tumor is found arising from the lung tissues, and contains both small cell caricinoma, mixed with one or more components of non-small cell caricinoma.