Non-small cell carcinoma

What is non-small cell carcinoma?

Non-small cell carcinoma is a group of cancers with made up of medium and large sized tumour cells. The most common types of non-small cell carcinoma are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

How do pathologists make this diagnosis?

Pathologists make this diagnosis after a small sample of tissue is examined under the microscope. The tissue sample is usually removed in a procedure called a fine needle aspiration (FNA). This type of procedure is commonly used for tumours of the lungs.

Non-small cell carcinoma is a not a final diagnosis

Non-small cell carcinoma on its own is a preliminary diagnosis. If you have received a diagnosis of non-small cell carcinoma, you should expect to receive a more specific diagnosis with the type of non-small cell carcinoma (for example, squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma) after a larger piece of tissue is removed and sent to pathology for examination.


Treatment for non-small cell carcinoma is based on the specific type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Talk to your doctor about the treatment options available for you.

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