Before understanding what small cell lung cancer is let’s take a look at how the lungs operate within the body.
The lungs come as a pair and they are found in the chest. The lungs take the shapes of cones and are known as our breathing organs. There is a left and right lung which is separated into lobes. The left lung contains two lobes while the right lung contains three lobes. As you already may know the lungs carry oxygen into the body and takes out the carbon dioxide out of our systems. There is a thin membrane that surrounds the lungs known as the pleura. The trachea also known as the windpipe connects to the left and right lungs via two tubes. Bronchioles, small tubes, and alveoli, tiny air sacs, form the inner part of the lungs.
Now that you have an understanding of the way in which the lungs are set up you may have a better understanding of how small cell lung cancer is formed.
There is more than one type of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Today we are going to talk a little on small cell lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer is a disease that spreads through the lungs tissues via malignant (cancerous) cells. It gets its name from the types of cells associated with the lung cancer as well as the appearance of the cells under a microscope. There are two types of small cell lung cancer known as small cell carcinoma/oat cell cancer and combined small cell carcinoma.
There are a few risk factors associated with small lung cancer that you should be aware of such as exposure to second hand smoke, radon or asbestos as well as smoking tobacco or tobacco based substances.
The signs and symptoms of small lung cancer are:
- Persistent chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing
- Presence of blood while coughing
- Loss of weight without explanation
- Noticeable swelling in the neck as well as the face
- Loss of appetite
Small cell lung cancer can be detected by the following tests and procedures: chest x-ray, CT (CAT) scan, sputum cytology, physical history as well as exam, PET (positron emission tomography) scan, thoracoscopy, FNA (fine needle aspiration), bronchoscopy and thoracentesis.
If lung cancer is detected there are factors that determine your chance of recovery or prognosis as well as the medical treatment you will receive. Small cell lung cancer prognosis are determined by:
- How far the cancer has spread
- Gender of patient
- Patient’s general health
- Patient’s LDH
Treatment for lung cancer can be done through clinical trials. These trials cater to the needs of patients with different stages and types of lung cancer. For most patients however there aren’t any treatments that can cure their lung cancer.
Now that you know what causes small lung cancer as well as its risk factors it is imperative that you stay away from second hand cigarette smoke as well as smoking. If you already smoke and you realize that you have most of the following symptoms visit you doctor immediately to get examined.
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