Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

About Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer

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In 2012, more than 226,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer.1

Methodist Cancer Center is dedicated to providing the resources you need for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

What Is Lung Cancer?

 Cancer is the result of a mutation that causes otherwise normal cells to grow at an abnormal rate. A buildup of extra cells in the lungs can result in the formation of tumors, which may be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). Benign tumors are usually not life-threatening and do not need to be removed.

Types of Lung Cancer

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80 percent of lung cancer diagnoses. There are four types of NSCLC:
    • Adenocarcinoma, the most common type of NSCLC, is found in the glands within the lungs that produce mucus.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma) forms in the lining of the bronchial tubes.
    • Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma forms near the outer edges of the lungs.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) involves small cells that multiply quickly and form large tumors that can spread throughout the body.
  • Lung carcinoid tumors are somewhat rare tumors that tend to grow slower than other types of lung cancer and are often treated with surgery.

What Are the Risk Factors for Lung Cancer?


While the exact cause of lung cancer is unknown, researchers have linked it to several risk factors. You may be at risk if you:

  • Smoke tobacco 
  • Are over 65
  • Have been exposed to radon or asbestos 
  • Have a personal or family history of lung cancer
  • Have had radiation treatment to the chest

Learn more about lung cancer:

For more information about lung cancer treatment at the Methodist Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call us at 713-441-LUNG (5864).

1 National Cancer Institute