Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


What Is It?

Large cell lung cancer is given this name because the abnormal cells appear large under the microscopic. Lung cancers are divided into two main groups -- small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Large cell lung cancer is one of the non-small cell cancers.

Large cell lung cancers often begin in the central part of the lung. Of the non-small cell lung cancers, this type is usually discovered at a later stage. Large cell lung cancers tend to grow quickly and spread. The cancer may spread into nearby lymph nodes and into the chest wall. It also can spread to more distant organs, even when the tumor in the lung is relatively small.

Most people who develop large cell lung cancer are past or present smokers.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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