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Colored scanning electron micrograph of lung cancer cell during cell division.
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Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of the lungs. Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. Lung cancer kills 1.3 million people each year, more than any other cancer. It is currently the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, it kills more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancers together.
The large majority of people who get lung cancer have smoked for many years. However, there are types of lung cancers that appear in otherwise healthy patients who have never smoked.
There are two main types of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer typically responds well to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and non-small cell lung cancer is more commonly treated with surgical removal of the lung tumor.
Non-small cell lung cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) account for about 85% to 90% of lung cancer cases. There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer:
- Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma
- Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma