Non-small cell is the most common type of lung cancer. It happens when abnormal cells grow out of control in the lungs. The cells form tumors and invade nearby tissue. It usually starts in the breathing (bronchial) tubes in the lungs.
What causes non-small cell lung cancer?
Non-small cell lung cancer is often caused by smoking or being around secondhand smoke. It sometimes happens in people who have never smoked. Radiation treatment to the chest area may be a cause. Another cause is living or working in a building with radon or asbestos. Sometimes the cause is not known.
What are the symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer?
The symptoms of early non-small cell lung cancer may include a cough that does not go away, chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The symptoms of later stages can include swelling of the face and coughing up blood. They can also include bone pain, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, and weight loss.
How is non-small cell lung cancer treated?
Treatment for non-small cell lung cancer is based on the stage of the cancer and other things, such as your overall health. The main treatments are:
- Surgery. Surgery may be an option if your doctor thinks all of the cancer can be removed. The doctor may remove just the tumor, the affected part of the lung, or one whole lung.
- Radiation therapy. This uses high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be used with surgery or instead of surgery.