Non-small cell lung cancer

This is the most common type of lung cancer. If you are diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, you will have immediate access to our world-leading consultants and state-of-the-art hospitals

Enquiries & Appointments


About non-small cell lung cancer

There are three types of non-small cell lung cancer.

  • adenocarcinoma
  • squamous cell cancer
  • large-cell carcinoma.

Each type of lung cancer behaves differently and responds to treatment in different ways. At HCA UK our network of world-leading consultants are experts at treating all forms of lung cancer. Your consultant will talk you through your diagnosis and the best treatment options for you to help you make an informed decision about your care.

Types of non-small cell lung cancer


Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer. It develops from mucus-producing cells that line the airways.

Squamous cell cancer

Squamous cell cancer develops in the cells that line the airways. It is usually caused by smoking, but even non-smokers can get it.

Large cell carcinoma

Large cell carcinoma is so called because of how the cancer cells look when examined under a microscope.

Undifferentiated non-small cell lung cancer

If your cancer cells look very underdeveloped under the microscope, your consultant may not be able to tell which type of non-small cell lung cancer you have.

Need to know

Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer may include:

  • a persistent cough
  • coughing up mucus or blood
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of appetite
  • chest pain
  • unexplained weight loss

Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have lung cancer. However, it is important that you visit your GP if you have any of these symptoms so that a referral and diagnosis can be made. Early detection is crucial in order to increase the chance of treatment being successful.

We offer a number of investigations and tests to confirm a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer, including:

  • a physical examination
  • blood tests
  • scans, such as X-rays, MRI, CT and PET-CT
  • biopsy

If these tests suggest you may have lung cancer, your consultant will recommend a biopsy. This is when a sample of tissue is taken for examination under a microscope.

Your consultant will talk you through your treatment options to help you make an informed decision about your care. Treatment may include:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • immunotherapy

We treat every patient on an individual basis. Your treatment will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is, as well as your age and general health. At HCA UK you will be looked after by a multidisciplinary team, including expert consultants, clinical nurse specialists and supportive therapists including psychologists who can help you with your emotional wellbeing. This team will work together to create a treatment plan tailored to your medical needs.

Our Non-small cell lung cancer locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
University College Hospital Private Care

University College Hospital Private Care

Grafton Way Building, 1 Grafton Way WC1E 6AG London
Private Care at Guy's

Private Care at Guy's

London Bridge Hospital Private Care at Guy's SE1 9RT London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London
The Christie Private Care

The Christie Private Care

Wilmslow Road M20 4BX Manchester

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.