Lung cancer and NSCLC
Lung cancer is a cancer that starts in your lung. There are 2 main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The difference between them has to do with the type of cancer cells, how quickly they grow, and how they respond to treatment. About 80% to 85% of all lung cancers are non-small cell.
NSCLC is further divided into squamous and nonsquamous types. About 70% to 75% of all lung cancers are nonsquamous.
There are different treatment options available for nonsquamous NSCLC depending on the stage of your cancer, which is usually based on the size of your tumor and if it has spread.
What is advanced lung cancer?
When a cancer is referred to as “advanced,” it usually means that the cancer has spread from the place where it started (your lungs) to other parts of the body.
What is staging?
Very often, lung cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage. This is not your fault. The symptoms of lung cancer often are not present until the disease is at a later stage, which may delay testing and diagnosis.
If your lung cancer is in an advanced stage, it can be a shock. You may feel overwhelmed, scared, or even angry. Everyone reacts differently, but it’s important to take the time you need to absorb this information. Reach out to loved ones, family, friends, and even others with your condition for support throughout this time.
What are the signs and symptoms of NSCLC?
If you experience any symptoms, you should see a doctor who can run tests for lung cancer to diagnose it as early as possible. Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
- A cough that does not go away, or gets worse
- Coughing up blood or spitting rust color
- Chest pain that feels worse with heavier breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Loss of voice
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness or weakness
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away, or keep coming back
Tell your doctor if you experience these or other unusual pains or symptoms.
What are the causes of nonsquamous NSCLC?
While smoking is the leading cause of nonsquamous NSCLC, there are many people with the disease who have never smoked at all. Some may have experienced exposure to forms of pollution, while a small number may not have experienced any known cause.