Cancer is a much-feared disease with causes, treatments and cures that are still relatively unknown. Although, there are new-age interventions and processes that can alleviate small cancer cell or even treat it effectively during the early stages, the mortality rate is still high and prognosis is still poor depending on the type and stage of development. Small cancer cell is one of the types that have mysterious beginnings. Proper diagnosis early on is needed for successful therapy and treatment. Here is an overview and some guidelines for patients.
Know about small cell cancer in general. Small cancer cell is a type of cancer that originates inside the person's lungs. The lungs are the most common starting sites but it can also occur in the prostate and cervix. Other names for the disease include oat cell cancer and small cell lung cancer. The term "small cell" was created due to the size of the cell, which is relatively tinier compared to regular ones. The size of the cells is compromised due to a problem in the process of cell creation.
Know about the specific cancer stage and prognosis. Generally, cancer spreads because of the rapid and abnormal growth and spread of malignant cancer cells that destroy normal and healthy ones. The treatment period for small cancer cell lasts 1 to 2 years. One-fifth of patients diagnosed with the limited stage condition has an average prognosis and are expected to live at least 5 years or more. If the person is diagnosed with the extensive stage, only 5% or less are expected to live at least 5 years or more.
Look for symptoms. Small cancer cell diagnosis is usually not done until the person has reported symptoms or a syndrome. The problem is, diagnosis is usually late because people do not present any symptom until the problem has progressed to the extensive stage. The best approach for people would be to go for regular checkups for early detection and treatment. Some of the symptoms include hoarseness of voice, long-lasting cough, lethargy or body weakness, chest pain that is aggravated by laughing or coughing, wheezing, lung infection and coughing blood. A number of syndromes might also arise such as cushing syndrome, horner syndrome and superior vena cava syndrome.
Perform imaging tests. Various diagnostic procedures might be recommended depending on the symptoms presented to confirm cancer. Some of the possible tests include x-ray, radioactive imaging, magnetic field imaging and sound wave imaging. A CT scan, bone scan, PET scan, MRI scan or CAT scan may also be recommended. All these aim to look for abnormalities and masses in the suspected areas. The scans are also required to look for problems in other areas because the disease might already have spread to those parts.
Perform lung tests. More tests will also be done particularly involving the respiratory system to check for small cancer cell. Some of the procedures to be done include endobronchial ultrasound, bronchoscopy, thoracentesis, sputum sampling and PFT or pulmonary function test. These tests will check the condition of the lungs and air passages to see if there are any abnormal growths. The lymph nodes will also be checked.