Small Cell Lung Cancer Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

The very common type of lung cancer is the small cell lung cancer. It spreads more rapidly then the other type of lung cancer the non-small cell lung cancer.

This small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is supposed to be a fast-growing than the other type.

This type of lung cancer accounts for about 15% of total cases. This is more common in men than women.

The small cell lung cancer is classified into different types. Small cell carcinoma is also called the oat cell cancer. Most small cell lung cancers are the oat cell type. The different types are as follows:

  • Small cell carcinoma
  • Mixed small cell/large cell carcinoma
  • Combined small cell carcinoma

Usually this disease is diagnosed in its advanced stage after it has spread. The fluid in the lungs may be an indication of this cancer but this may not be a sure sign of the disease though. The diagnostic tests may involve the X-ray of the chest, the sputum test, bone, CT and MRI scan, CBC, Positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a Thoracentesis.

Even in some cases a biopsy may be needed for thorough observation. As biopsy of lungs is rather a complicated issue it should be well dealt and can be done through various methods. Some of them are the Bronchoscopy, Pleural biopsy, Open lung biopsy, CT scan directed needle biopsy, Mediastinoscopy with biopsy, Endoscopic esophageal ultrasound (EUS) with biopsy

Small Cell Lung Cancer Cause

The major cause of small cell lung cancer in almost all the cases is smoking. It is rare in people who don’t smoke. It depends on the number of cigarettes one smokes per day and also the since how long the person is smoking.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Symptoms

The very common small cell lung cancer symptoms and other additional symptoms are as follows:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Blood in sputum
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue or tiredness
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Hoarseness or changing voice
  • Fever
  • Nail abnormalities
  • Facial swelling

Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment

Unlike the other type of lung cancer the small cell lung cancer spreads rapidly to the other areas of the body. Due to its active behavior it should be promptly treated. Therefore for immediate control of the disease chemotherapy is used in which the drugs are administered orally or injected into the body through the veins.

This chemotherapy small cell lung cancer treatment may be combined sometimes with the radiation therapy in advanced cases for better treatment.

Surgery is rarely an option for small cell lung cancer treatment. This method is considered only in the initial stage of the disease where the tumor is within the lung and hasn’t spread so far.

After surgery generally the chemotherapy and the radiation therapy are also given. But such cases are very rare. It is only considered if it is limited small cell lung cancer with only one tumor that hasn’t spread. Chemotherapy or radiation will be needed after surgery.

Generally the small cell lung cancer is diagnosed at advanced stage where surgery does not serve the purpose of its treatment. In such cases the combination of chemotherapy with radiation therapy is given. These small cell lung cancer treatment methods help to relieve the symptoms severity to a large extent though the cure is not possible.