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8 Facts About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Oct 3, 2012 (updated Dec 13, 2014)
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There are two major forms of lung cancer that can be differentiated on the basis of the structural (morphological) appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope. These two major types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Here are some facts about non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

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Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type
Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type
This type accounts for about 80 percent of all lung cancer cases. By: HealthCentral Editorial TeamSource:MediFocus Guidebook
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There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer
There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer
  • Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma - accounts for about one-third of NSCLC cases and usually occurs in smokers.
  • Adenocarcinoma - accounts for about 35 percent of NSCLC cases and can occur in both smokers and non-smokers.
  • Large cell carcinoma - this is a very aggressive form of NSCLC that grows and spreads rapidly. It accounts for less than 10 percent of NSCLC cases.
By: HealthCentral Editorial TeamSource: Medifocus Guidebook
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Most patients with early stage lung cancer are asymptomatic
Most patients with early stage lung cancer are asymptomatic
This means they do not exhibit clinical signs or symptoms of the disease. The absence of clinical signs and symptoms during the early stage of the disease is a major factor that can contribute to a significant delay in diagnosis of the condition. By: HealthCentral Editorial TeamSource: Medifocus Guidebook
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There are three most common symptoms of lung cancer
There are three most common symptoms of lung cancer
Persistent or worsening cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea) and coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum. By: HealthCentral Editorial TeamSource: Medifocus Guidebook
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Patients with lung cancer may experience quality of life issues
Patients with lung cancer may experience quality of life issues
In general, some of the more common problems encountered by cancer patients either as a result of the disease itself or as a side-effect of cancer treatments include:Sleep disordersFatigueDiminished exercise capacity  Unintentional weight loss  Psychological stressCancer-related pain By: HealthCentral Editorial TeamSource: Medifocus Guidebook
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Smoking increases a person's risk
Smoking increases a person
The earlier someone begins smoking in life and the longer a person smokes, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer becomes. Other risk factors include family history, secondhand smoke exposure and air pollution. Source: Nation Cancer Institute
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Survival rate varies by stage
Survival rate varies by stage
According to data from 2007, the average five-year survival rate of someone with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer is 1 percent. Meanwhile, the average five-year survival rate of someone with stage 1A non-small cell lung cancer is 49 percent.
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New testing for early detection underway
New testing for early detection underway
Recent research has shown that doing spiral CT scans and testing sputum samples in people who are at higher risk for lung cancer may help be more effective with early detection.