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Source: National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health. www.cancer.gov
Lung cancer forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. There are two types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Each type of lung cancer has different kinds of cancer cells. The cancer cells of each type grow and spread in different ways.
The types of lung cancer are named for the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells look under a microscope:
Non-small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer:
Squamous cell carcinoma:
Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. This is also called epidermoid carcinoma.
Large cell carcinoma:
Cancer that may begin in several types of large cells.
Cancer that begins in the cells that line the alveoli and make substances such as mucus.
Small cell carcinoma
(oat cell cancer)
Mixed small cell/large cell carcinoma
Combined small cell carcinoma
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