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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

About non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

In this section, you or a loved one can find out more about non-small cell lung cancer, as well as links to other information. Being informed is an important first step towards becoming an active decision-maker in your care plan.

What Is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)?

Lung cancer starts when cells of the lung become abnormal and begin to grow out of control. As more cancer cells develop, they can form into a tumour and spread to other areas of the body.

There are subtypes of NSCLC, which start from different types of lung cells, but they are grouped together as NSCLC because the general approach to treatment and the outlook are often similar.


This type of lung cancer occurs mainly in current or former smokers, but it is also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers. Adenocarcinoma is usually found in the outer parts of the lung, arising from cells that would normally secrete mucus and other substances. Though it tends to grow slower than other types of lung cancer and is more likely to be found before it has spread, this varies from patient to patient.

Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma

These cancers start in early versions of squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs. They are often linked to a history of smoking and tend to be found in the central part of the lungs, near a main airway (bronchus).

Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma

This type of cancer grows anywhere in the lungs. It grows and spreads rapidly and can be difficult to treat. A type of cancer in this group known as large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma is fast growing and very similar to small cell lung cancer.

For further information, please visit:

Cancer Council Australia- Lung Cancer  (Date last accessed 26 Oct 2016)

Australian Government Cancer Australia- Lung Cancer  (Date last accessed 26 Oct 2016)


Please note that the information on this website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for seeking medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional. Speak to a healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health, medical condition, symptoms or treatment options.

References  (Date last accessed 26 Oct 2016)

American Cancer Society


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