What is a Large Cell Lung Carcinoma?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2018
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Large cell lung carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the lungs. As the name suggests, the cells making up this type of cancer are larger in size than those in some other forms of cancer. These cells are commonly formed in the bronchi of the lungs and are considered to be anaplastic. The bronchi are the branches of the respiratory system that lead from the trachea, or windpipe, into the lungs.

The cancer cells in large cell lung carcinoma appear large and rounded when examined under a microscope. The appearance of these cells are responsible for the name of this form of cancer. Large cell lung carcinoma tends to start around the outer edges of the lungs. Once these cells have begun to develop, they tend to grow and spread quite rapidly.

With large cell lung carcinoma, the diagnosis is often one of exclusion. This type of cancer can easily be mistaken for other types of cancer at first glance. It is only through the use of a biopsy that a definitive diagnosis can be made. In the absence of this biopsy, the diagnosis is typically made by ruling out other conditions, including different types of cancers.


Some of the symptoms of large cell lung carcinoma are similar to symptoms of other conditions, many of them less severe in nature. It is for this reason that any changes in medical health should be reported to a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial when it comes to large cell lung carcinoma.

Some of the most common symptoms of large cell lung carcinoma include a cough that just will not go away along with wheezing or shortness of breath. Recurrent pneumonia can also be a warning sign of this condition. Loss of appetite or any significant weight loss that was not intentional should be reported to a doctor as well. Headaches, bone pain, and facial swelling have also been known to occur with large cell lung carcinoma.

Treatment for large cell lung carcinoma will depend upon the stage of the disease when diagnosed. In earlier stages of the disease, it may be possible to have the cancer surgically removed. In later or more aggressive stages, radiation or chemotherapy may be required in an effort to rid the body of the cancer. A doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer, commonly referred to as an oncologist, is well-equipped to help the patient decide upon an appropriate course of action.



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