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Lung cancer. (Source: Shutterstock)

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)


Definition of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)


Non-small cell lung cancer is an epithelial tumour originating from the alveoli (alveoli), bronchi or trachea.


The term "non-small cell lung carcinoma(NSCLC) covers several forms of lung cancer. Most lung cancer patients have a so-called non-small cell cancer.  

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in Germany today.

Causes of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Smoking is the biggest avoidable risk factor. Tobacco contains over 4800 substances of which about 90 are either proven to cause cancer or are suspected of causing cancer. Radon, a toxin found in older buildings, and particulate matter are also suspected of promoting lung cancer.​

Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Lung cancer usually only causes symptoms when the disease is already well advanced. Symptoms can include unexplained coughing that lasts longer than three weeks, a chronic cough that worsens further and sputum with or without blood, an unexplained fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, loss of energy, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, bone pain and swelling of the lymph nodes.

Non-small cell lung cancer is responsible for about 25 percent of all cancer deaths. By limiting the main risk factor of smoking, a large proportion of these deaths could be avoided.

Diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Lung cancer is diagnosed with the aid of x-rays, computer tomography, lung function diagnostics such as spirometers, blood gas analysis or perfusion scintigraphy. In addition, mediastinoscopies (looking at the upper chest) and punctures are frequently performed.

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