Lung Cancer - Types and Effects

There are two main types of lung cancer, depending upon how the cancer cells look under a microscope. Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) account for about 80% of lung cancers and develop mainly from the cells which line the lungs. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 20% of cases; they are believed to develop from nerve or gland cells. Once a tumor begins to grow, it starts filling up the space in the lungs and can lead to shortness of breath or coughing. If it keeps spreading, it destroys lung tissue and may affect nearby structures called lymph nodes. It may eventually grow into the ribs or across to the other lung. Lung cancer has often spread a great deal before it is diagnosed. If the cancer enters the bloodstream and becomes metastatic, it may spread to other organs throughout the body.