Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer. It begins in the lungs and may spread to other parts of the body.
Non-small cell lung cancer begins when epithelial cells, which form the inside lining of the lungs, grow rapidly and uncontrollably. Often, these cells develop into a mass called a tumor. A malignant or cancerous tumor can stay in one place or spread to other parts of the body. The bronchi are sometimes also involved in lung cancer.
Non-small cell lung cancer is more easily treatable when caught early and still localized in the lung, and has not spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Treatments may include a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or targeted medications.
At Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), our dedicated thoracic team of radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists work together to determine:
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer.
Risk factors for lung cancer may include the following:
When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of developing lung cancer is increased.
Sometimes lung cancer does not cause any symptoms and is found during a routine chest X-ray.
Consult your doctor if any of the following occur:
Find out more about non-small cell lung cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
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