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Small Cell vs. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Peninsula Radiation - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

At Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center, we’re not only a premier provider of lung cancer and radiation therapy. We also strive to be a trusted source when it comes to cancer knowledge and awareness. Although lung cancer may be a deadly disease, learning and understanding more about it can be half of the battle. Lung cancers are generally divided into two main types of categories: small cell and non-small cell.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer is known for its aggressiveness and its rate of growth. Because a large percentage of this type of cancer has a protein known as Ki-67, this cancer is among the fastest growing solid tumors. Overall, small cell lung cancer offers patients a smaller chance of survival when compared to non-small cell lung cancer. However, small cell lung cancer is only found in approximately ten percent of patients who have lung cancer.

This type of cancer will react quickly to lung cancer treatments like chemotherapy – but runs of the risk of bouncing back in a more aggressive manner. It can also become resistant to further treatments. In addition to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can also be recommended to treat this type of cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer is responsible for over 85 percent of lung cancers. This type has a higher survival rate, with 50 percent of patients diagnosed with stage I non-small cell lung cancer surviving for five years after diagnosis. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer.

  • Adenocarcinoma is found in the outer parts of the lung. This type makes up about 50 percent of all non-small cell lung cancers.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is typically found in the inner parts of the lung. This type makes up about 30 percent of all non-small cell lung cancers.
  • Large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma can be found in any part of the lung. About 15 percent of all non-small cell lung cancers are of this type.

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer will typically have a wider range of treatment options, which can include targeted therapy drugs and immunotherapy.

If you ever happen to be in need of lung cancer treatment and radiation therapy in Soldotna, AK, please feel free tocontact us. We’ll always be here to help you in any way that we can.


At Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center, we know that cancer patients are best served by being treated in close proximity to a support network of family and friends. We offer patients in Southeast Alaska the ability to receive state-of-the-art radiation therapy without the burden of traveling great distances away from home.The information presented on this website is provided to allow our patients to gain more knowledge about our center, our staff, and our services.