Lung cancer

Lung cancer is a cancerous tumour in the tissue of one or both of the lungs.

 

What is lung cancer?

The lungs are the main organs for breathing and are part of the respiratory system that includes the nose, mouth, windpipe and airways (large airways, bronchi; smaller airways, bronchioles) to each lung. Lung cancer is a cancerous tumour in the tissue of one or both of the lungs.

Primary lung cancer starts in the lungs.
Secondary or metastatic lung cancer can start somewhere else in the body and spread to the lungs.
 

Primary lung cancer is split into two groups:

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – the most common type
Types of non-small cell lung cancer include:

  • Adenocarcinoma – starts in the mucus and affects the smaller airways
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  • Squamous cell carcinoma – mainly affects the cells that line the tubes into the lungs. It tends to grow in the centre of the lung. It’s usually caused by smoking
  • Large cell carcinoma or undifferentiated carcinoma – cancer affecting large round cells

 
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – This is less common (about 1 in 10 lung cancers). It mainly affects smokers and is very rare in people who’ve never smoked.

SCLC tends to start in the middle of the lungs and usually spreads more quickly than NSCLC.

Types of small-cell lung cancer include:

  • Small cell carcinoma
  • Mixed small cell/large cell carcinoma

Types of lung cancer

Tracheal cancer is a rare type of lung cancer, sometimes known as bronchial cancer. That’s because the trachea (or windpipe) has two branches – known as bronchi, and this is where the disease usually starts.

Most tumours that begin in the trachea or bronchi are cancerous.

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Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the covering of the lung, called the pleura. It’s almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.

Thoracic cancers are a less common lung cancers that can form in the chest area.

Tracheal cancer is a rare type of lung cancer, sometimes known as bronchial cancer. That’s because the trachea (or windpipe) has two branches – known as bronchi, and this is where the disease usually starts.

Most tumours that begin in the trachea or bronchi are cancerous.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the covering of the lung, called the pleura. It’s almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.

Thoracic cancers are a less common lung cancers that can form in the chest area.

Common lung cancer symptoms

A persistent cough that gets worse

Shortness of breath

Weight loss

Feeling very tired

Coughing up blood

Hoarse voice

Wheezing

Regular or persistent chest infections

Treatments we cover

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton, West Midlands, Coldfield B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Cancer Centre, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Notthingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Southampton Centre, Chalybeate Close (off Tremona Road), Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamShire, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HD

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