Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs, the two spongy organs in the chest. There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which is most common, and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
NSCLC targets the cells lining the surface of the lung airways, including the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. SCLC is a more aggressive type of lung cancer that develops in the tissues of the lungs and is sometimes referred to as oat cell cancer due to the small, oval-shaped cells that look like oat grains under a microscope.
Both types of lung cancer can be difficult to detect early because symptoms such as a chronic cough can be attributed to other ailments. However, when lung cancer is detected during Stage I, the five-year survival rate is between 80 to 95%, which is why doctors recommend annual screenings for patients between the ages of 55 and 80 who have a history of smoking.
Doctors in the GW Cancer Center’s Thoracic Oncology Program not only perform preventative lung cancer screenings, but they also provide world-class treatment after a positive diagnosis.