We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Non-small cell lung cancer is a general term for several different types of malignancies that develop in lung tissue. Most lung cancers are of the non-small cell variety, and although they differ in pathology, they all share some characteristics, cause many of the same symptoms, and respond to the same treatments. Non-small cell lung cancer tends to develop slowly over the course of several years, and it can cause breathing difficulties, coughing, and acute chest pains. It is usually fatal when the cancer is not diagnosed and treated in the early stages of development, but patients who receive prompt treatment often experience near full recoveries.

The three main types of non-small cell lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. The primary cause of all three types is smoking, accounting for almost 90 percent of cases. Long-term exposure to other environmental toxins such as diesel gas exhaust, industrial chemicals, and asbestos can also lead to these forms of lung cancer. In addition, some people may be genetically predisposed to developing cancer even if they are not exposed to carcinogens.

Non-small cell lung cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. As tumors grow within the lungs and cancer begins to spread, a person might experience shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and fatigue during and after activity. Chest and back pain, respiratory infections, and high blood pressure can develop as well. Left untreated, symptoms eventually become chronic and cause severe discomfort and illness.

A doctor who suspects non-small cell lung cancer can begin to formulate a diagnosis by asking about symptoms, smoking habits, and familial history of cancer. Chest x-rays and computerized tomography scans are performed to look for physical signs of tumors. If an unusual mass is found during imaging tests, a specialist can insert an endoscope down the throat to closely inspect the lungs and collect a tissue sample for lab analysis. Once a cancer diagnosis is confirmed, treatment is initiated right away to provide the best chances of recovery.

Early stage non-small cell lung cancer can often be treated surgically. If the cancer has not started to spread, a surgeon can excise isolated tumors and suture healthy lung tissue together. Moderate to severe lung cancer is treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If serious tissue damage has already occurred and respiratory failure is likely, a patient may need a lung transplant to survive. Following treatment, individuals can maximize their chances of recovery by avoiding smoke and toxins, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy diet plans.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.