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

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 icon plus

    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.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    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.

  • Treatment options icon plus

    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 consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex surgery to diagnostic tests, procedures and monitoring, we provide exceptional cancer care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Contact our experienced cancer team

Any questions about our cancer services or treatment? We're happy to advise you or help you book an appointment in London, Birmingham or Manchester with a cancer specialist consultant.

Call us on 

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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