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Definition of Cancer, non-small cell lung

Cancer, non-small cell lung: Cancer of the lung which is not of the small cell carcinoma (oat cell carcinoma) type. The term "non-small cell lung cancer" is generally applied to the various types of bronchogenic carcinomas (those arising from the lining of the bronchi) which include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell undifferentiated carcinoma.

The distinction between small cell and non-small cell cancer is important for proper treatment. Surgery is the treatment of choice for the early stage of non-small-cell lung cancer but is rarely used if ever for small cell cancers of the lung- even when found early.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10843
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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