Small cell lung cancer is a fast-growing lung cancer. It can affect anyone, but it is more susceptible to people who have a long history of smoking tobacco. Healthcare providers can cure some people if the disease is diagnosed early; for others, they can help extend some of their lives. Small cell lung cancer can be avoided if a person stops smoking.
How small-cell lung cancer affects individuals
Small-cell lung cancer starts when healthy cells in the lungs mutate or change into cancerous cells. These cells divide and multiply uncontrollably. Mutated cancerous cells clump together in masses in your lungs. These tumours shed cancer cells, which your blood or lymph picks up and carries throughout your body.
Small cell lung cancer typically spreads to lymph nodes, bones, the brain, the liver, and the adrenal glands. These adrenal glands are located near to kidneys in human body.
After the cells spread, they may create new cancerous tumours in lymph nodes and other organs. Small-cell lung cancer causes fluid deposition in your lungs or spaces around the lungs. This will cause your lungs to collapse by pushing air out of your lungs. This medical condition is better known as pleural effusion.
Types of small-cell lung cancer
Small cell carcinoma—this is the most common type of small cell lung cancer.
Combined small cell carcinoma: Combined small cell carcinoma accounts for 2 percent to 5 percent of small cell carcinoma. In this lung cancer a combination of non small cell cancer and small cell lung cancer.
Symptoms and causes of SCLC
Small-cell lung cancer does not spread and rarely causes symptoms. When symptoms persist, a person feels chest pain, a chronic cough, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), difficulty breathing, facial swelling, fatigue, and hoarseness, loss of appetite with swollen neck veins, weight loss and wheezing are examples of small cell lung cancer. Many of these symptoms are similar to those of other, less serious conditions. Having one or more of these symptoms is not a sign that you have small cell lung cancer. As already mentioned, if you smoke and have such symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. They will evaluate and diagnose your situation and recommend the next steps.
What causes small cell lung cancer?
It is said that anyone can get lung cancer, but people who smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke( passive smoking) have an increased risk of developing small cell lung cancer. Other factors include
Exposure to radiation while taking cancer treatments or imaging scans.
Exposure to radon gas is also a cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colourless, radioactive gas that can seep into homes and lead to lung cancer.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals like asbestos, arsenic, nickel, tar, or toxic chemicals
Having a family history of lung cancer.
having HIV disease.
Diagnoses and Tests
Conducting an X-ray of chest is first step towards evaluating a lung cancer. If the image shows some suspicious spots on your lung, a doctor will provide more diagnostic tests.
Imaging scans like computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) detect lung tumours. CT scan is one of the most followed step to diagnose lung cancer. Both these tests assist in gauging spread of cancer.
Biopsy: A needle biopsy removes tissue samples from the lungs. Lab pathologists check biopsies for cancer cells.
Bronchoscopy: this test is done with a bronchoscope, through which your provider looks inside your lung airways for tumours. At the same time, they remove tissue samples for biopsy.
Stages of SCLC
Healthcare providers examine the spread of small cell lung cancer to detect the stage of the disease generally there two stages of cancer detection
Limited Stage: This means the cancer has spread in one of your lungs and has spread to an area between your lungs or to lymph nodes situated above your collarbone. About 1 out of 3 people with small cell lung cancer have limited-stage cancer during diagnosis.
Extensive stage: In this stage, cancer spreads to other lungs or beyond lungs to lymph nodes, where it can spread to your bones, brain, and other organs.
Treatment and management of SCLC
Treatments for small cell lung cancer depend on many factors, like age, overall health, and the stage of the cancer. Some of the used, treatment options for lung cancer are mentioned below.
Surgery: Around 1 in 20 people with small-cell lung cancer have tumours that haven’t spread beyond their lungs. In these circumstances, a surgeon may remove part of your lung or your entire lung. People who cannot have surgery may receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Radiation Therapy: External radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver strong X-ray beams directly on the site of the tumour, Apart from killing cancer cells, this therapy relieves symptoms. Doctors typically use radiation therapy to treat limited-stage small-cell lung cancer.
Chemotherapy: If you have had surgery, then your doctor will combine chemotherapy drugs with other treatments to kill lingering cancer cells. People with an extensive stage of cancer generally receive chemotherapy. Chemotherapy cannot cure small-cell lung cancer, but it can shrink tumours, ease symptoms, and help people live longer.
Immunotherapy: This treatment engages the body’s immune system to fight and destroy cancer cells.. Doctors generally use this treatment along with chemotherapy to shrink cancer tumours and ease symptoms.
Prevention of small cell lung cancer
Quitting tobacco is the best way to prevent small cell lung cancer. If you smoke tobacco, then you should quit as early as possible. It does not matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking tobacco; your lungs will begin the healing process once you quit smoking. If you are a smoker, then consult a medical practitioner to help you quit smoking. Apart from quitting tobacco, you may reduce the risks of lung cancer by maintaining a healthy bodyweight, eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, and protecting yourself from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like asbestos, arsenic, and nickel.
Conclusion: Small cell lung cancer is one of the diseases that causes death and spreads from the lungs to other body parts; therefore, it is better to consult the doctor if anyone has cancer- like symptoms. If anyone works in a place where chemicals like asbestos, arsenic, and nickel are present, then proper masking of the face should be done before entering workplace.
Know Small Cell Lung Cancer Types Stages Diagnosis And Treatment
- Know Small Cell Lung Cancer Types Stages Diagnosis And Treatment
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