Non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, representing about 85% of lung cancers.
There are 3 main subtypes of NSCLC:
- About 25% to 30% of all lung cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of squamous cells, which line the inside of the airways in the lungs. These cancers are generally linked to a history of smoking.
- About 40% of lung cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in early versions of the cells that would normally secrete substances such as mucus. This type of lung cancer occurs mainly in current or former smokers, but it is also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers. Adenocarcinoma tends to grow slower than other types of lung cancer, and is more likely to be found before it has spread outside of the lung.
- Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma account for about up to 15% of lung cancers and can appear in any part of the lung.