Must-Read Facts About Small Cell Lung Cancer

May 7th 2016

Both types of lung cancer are directly linked to risk factors that are preventable. Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of the disease. Reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by quitting smoking and refraining from areas where smoke is prevalent.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Grows Rapidly

Individuals diagnosed with small cell lung cancer often develop symptoms quickly as the cancer rapidly grows. Many types of cancer produce symptoms that develop over years, while small lung cancer symptoms are typically noticed within eight to 12 weeks of the onset of the disease. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, excessive coughing and coughing up blood. You may also notice your voice becomes hoarse when the nerve supplying the vocal cords experiences compression due to the growth of the cancerous tumor.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Spreads Quickly

This type of cancer spreads quickly as the tumor grows. Symptoms often worsen as the cancer spreads to the spinal cord, vertebral column, bones and liver. You may notice increased headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness in your limbs and blurred vision as the cancer spreads. Cancer that spreads to the vertebral column can cause back pain or pain within your bones. Small cell lung cancer that spreads to the spinal cord can produce a loss of bladder function and bowels and even paralysis.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Responds Well to Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy

Small cell lung cancer is more rare, but the good news is the cancerous tumors typically respond well to cancer medications such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is the process of using strong medications to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy involves using high-energy rays or high-dose X-rays to kill the cancer cells.

Conclusion

People diagnosed with lung cancer often struggle to determine how the condition is classified and treated. There are two primary types of lung cancer known as non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is more rare and only attributed to 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer cases each year. Determine the must-know facts about this condition to better understand your treatment options when consulting with your physician.

Sources

WebMD.com "Small-cell lung cancer" http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/small-cell-lung-cancer
Cancer.org "What is small cell lung cancer?" http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer-smallcell/overviewguide/lung-cancer-small-cell-overview-what-is-small-cell-lung-cancer

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