This type usually forms outside the lungs cancer. Another 30% of cases begin with Small cells lung cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) that line the airways.
A rare subset of adenocarcinomas starts with tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. Called adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS).
This type is not aggressive and may not invade surrounding tissues or require immediate treatment. The rapidly developing types of non-small cell lung cancer include large cell carcinoma and large cell neuroendocrine tumors.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 15% to 20% of lung cancer. SCLC grows and spreads faster than NSCLC. This also makes it more likely to respond to chemotherapy. However, it is also difficult to cure with treatment.
In some cases, lung cancer tumors contain both NSCLC and SCLC cells.
Mesothelioma is another type of lung cancer. Usually related to asbestos exposure. Carcinoid tumors start with hormone-producing (neuroendocrine) cells.
Before you notice the symptoms, the lung tumor will grow very large. Early symptoms mimic a cold or other common conditions, so most people will not immediately seek medical assistance. This is one of the reasons why lung cancer is usually not diagnosed early.
Cough persists or worsens
Cough sputum or blood
Breathing deeply, chest pain worsens when laughing or coughing
Shortness of breath
Weakness and fatigue
Loss of appetite and weight loss
You may also have repeated respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
As cancer spreads, other symptoms depend on the location of the new tumor. For example, if:
Lymph nodes: masses, especially in the neck or collarbone
Bones: bone pain, especially the back, ribs or buttocks
Brain or spine: headache, dizziness, balance problems or numbness in arms or legs
Liver: Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
A tumor on the top of the lungs affects the facial nerve, causing the lower eyelid to sag, the pupils to become smaller, or sweat on one side of the face. Together, these symptoms are called Horner syndrome. It can also cause shoulder pain.
The tumor will press against the large veins, which carry blood between the head, arms, and heart. This may cause swelling of the face, neck, upper chest, and arms.
Lung cancer sometimes produces substances similar to hormones, causing a variety of symptoms called paraneoplastic syndromes, including: