What is non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Histologically, NSCLC is divided into adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (see the image below), and large cell carcinoma. Patients with NSCLC require a complete staging workup to evaluate the extent of disease, because stage plays a major role in determining the choice of treatment.

Non–small cell lung cancer. A cavitating right low Non–small cell lung cancer. A cavitating right lower lobe squamous cell carcinoma.

See the Critical Images slideshow Cutaneous Clues to Diagnosing Metastatic Cancer to help identify various skin lesions that are cause for concern. Go to Oncology Decision Point for expert commentary on NSCLC treatment decisions and related guidelines.

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