Small cell lung cancer is a very serious condition and many times the diagnosis leads to fatality of the patient that is diagnosed. There is a wealth of information online about small cell lung cancer and treatment options.
Also known as oat cell cancer, small cell lung cancer differs greatly from non-small lung cell cancer in that it grows more rapidly and it spreads quicker. Small cell lung cancer is linked more strongly to smoking as a cause than non-small lung cell cancer is. Although small cell lung cancer has been known to respond well to chemotherapy it can be more difficult to treat because of its rapid growth rate.
According to WebMD, small cell lung cancer is reponsible for about 20% to 25% of all cases of lung cancer diagnosed. Symptoms may include chronic cough, blood in sputum, shortness of breath, and chest pain that can be worsened by taking deep breaths. This is usually due to the growth of the tumor locally or other issues related to the disease itself.
Symptoms and Treatment
There are many other symptoms of small cell lung cancer that can be related to the growth of the cancer to nearby areas. Those symptoms may include:
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Difficulty with swallowing or esophagus restrictions
- Swelling of face and hands
- Shortness of breath
As with any cancer, small cell lung cancer can take a toll on its victims and it can happen very quickly. There are also a variety of tests that can be performed in order to evaluate and diagnosis small cell lung cancer. The attending physician may want to perform a thoracentesis, bronchoscope, lung biopsy, and chest x-rays. There are more tests your physician may need to perform in order to determine the course of treatment.
Once diagnosed with small cell lung cancer there will be other tests to determine if the disease has spread. After that determination has been made, your cancer will then be staged. Stages of small cell cancer are different than other cancers. Most cancers are staged from 1 to 4. Small cell lung cancer has 2 stages, limited stage and extensive stage.
Chemotherapy is the most common form of treatment for small cell lung cancer. There are several different medications used in the chemotherapy treatment for small cell lung cancer. These drugs are very strong agents that are intended to kill cancer cells. Both limited and extensive stages of small cell lung cancer are treatable. Although extensive is more difficult to treat and has a much higher fatality rate than the limited stage, it is still treatable with the usage of chemotherapy and radiation. The chemotherapy used is generally a combination of different drugs. Radiation is used to relieve associated pain and can have other beneficial factors as well.
Sometimes patients may experience a relapse of small cell lung cancer. In this case, the prognosis is most often very poor. To keep that from happening, it’s often necessary to continue the treatments on a long term basis to assure that the cancer has been eliminated as much as possible.
Whatever the case may be when it comes to small cell lung cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options can vary. The most important thing is early detection and elimination of the possibility of the cancer spreading to other vital organs. Your physician will determine the course of treatment and care you receive should you be diagnosed.
Tips and comments
- Early detection of any cancer is crucial.
- Should you experience any symptoms of small cell lung cancer or any cancer, it is vital that you consult with your physician as soon as possible.
- Follow the direction and guidance of a health care professional.
- Don't delay doctors visits and have regular check-ups.
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