Squamous Cell Lung Cancer

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Squamous cell lung cancer is one of the five subtypes of non small cell lung cancer. Non small cell accounts for about 80 percent of lung cancer cases, and squamous cell represents about 30-40 percent of these cases. These five subtypes are named for the kinds of cells found in the tumor, and for the way the cells look under a microscope.

Squamous cell lung cancer begins in squamous cells, which are thin and flat, and resemble fish scales. Adenocarcinoma begins in gland-type cells; adenosquamous carcinoma starts in cells that look flat under the microscope and are gland-type cells. Large cell carcinoma has cancer cells that look large and abnormal. Undifferentiated carcinoma consists of cells that do not look normal and increase at a wild rate.

Prognosis for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer

The prognosis (chance of recovery) for lung cancer depends on many factors, some specific to the cancer, and some relevant to the patient. The size of the tumor is critical; if it is small (probably stage I) and localized, surgery may be successful at removing all of it. The stage of the cancer is also key to a good outcome; stages I and II may respond to surgery plus chemotherapy, a combination that has been found to boost the lung cancer survival rate.

The kind of lung cancer is also important; small cell is very aggressive and is almost always diagnosed in the extensive stage, which is end stage lung cancer for this type. The patient's health condition is also crucial. A patient with emphysema or other lung disease, or with other underlying health problems, may not be a candidate for surgery, which has the best chance of removing squamous cell lung cancer tumors.


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