In recent years, there have been exciting developments in treating lung cancer. Through genetic testing of tumor samples, doctors can identify specific types of lung tumors and prescribe treatments designed to target them. Immunotherapy has also emerged as a treatment option for certain types of lung cancers. These advances have made treatments more effective, often with fewer side effects.

Types of Lung Cancer

There are two major types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

NSCLC accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers and includes adenocarcinoma (the most common form of lung cancer in the United States among both men and women), squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. SCLC tumors account for the remaining 15 percent of lung cancers in the United States. They tend to grow more quickly than NSCLC tumors.

Tumors are classified by stage. Stages are based on whether the cancer is local (in the lung only), locally advanced (has spread to nearby lymph nodes in the lung area) or metastatic (has spread to other parts of the body).