Small Cell Lung Cancer

What is small cell lung cancer?

Two sponge-like organs, filled with either side of the chest are called the ‘lungs’. The lungs perform a vital function of the human body by absorbing and sending oxygen to the bloodstream. Cancer that affect the lungs are called lung cancers. Mainly, there are two types of lung cancers- small cell lung cancer and nonsmall cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive form of nonsmall cell lung cancer. The cells grow and spread to other parts of the body quickly in small cell lung cancer. According to the reports of National Institutes of Health, survival rate is very low for small cell lung cancer. The main issue with this type of cancer is that, it is not diagnosed until it spreads to the other parts of the body.

What are the potential symptoms of SCLC?

The symptoms of SCLC may be similar to that of certain other health conditions. Usually, SCLC do not show any symptoms until it becomes severe. Symptoms of SCLC are:

  • Breathing problems

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Bloody mucus from the lungs

  • Facial swelling

  • Hoarseness or persistent cough

  • Chest pain and discomfort

How the condition is diagnosed?

The doctor will conduct a complete physical exam and check the medical history during diagnosis. The doctor may suggest you the following tests:

  • Chest x-ray

  • Complete blood count

  • MRI, CT and PET scan

  • Lung biopsy

  • Bone scan

  • Microscopic examination of sputum

What are the treatment options for SCLC?

For long-term outcomes, quick treatment is necessary. If the condition of the patient is very sever, the treatment will be aimed at relieving the symptoms. Some of the common treatment options for SCLC are:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Chemotherapy