Lung cancer - small cell

Cancer - lung - small cell; Small cell lung cancer; SCLC

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a fast-growing type of lung cancer. It spreads much more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer.

There are two types of SCLC:

  • Small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer)
  • Combined small cell carcinoma

Most SCLCs are of the oat cell type.

Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a surgical technique for viewing the interior of the airways. Using sophisticated flexible fiber optic instruments, surgeons are able to explore the trachea, main stem bronchi, and some of the small bronchi. In children, this procedure may be used to remove foreign objects that have been inhaled. In adults, the procedure is most often used to take samples of (biopsy) suspicious lesions and for culturing specific areas in the lung.

Lungs

The major features of the lungs include the bronchi, the bronchioles and the alveoli. The alveoli are the microscopic blood vessel-lined sacks in which oxygen and carbon dioxide gas are exchanged.

Lung cancer, lateral chest x-ray

A lateral view of a chest x-ray in a patient with central cancer of the lung.

Lung cancer, frontal chest X-ray

A chest x-ray in a patient with central cancer of the right lung. Notice the white mass in the middle portion of the right lung (seen on the left side of the picture).

Adenocarcinoma - chest x-ray

This chest x-ray shows adenocarcinoma of the lung. There is a rounded light spot in the right upper lung (left side of the picture) at the level of the second rib. The light spot has irregular and poorly defined borders and is not uniform in density. Diseases that may cause this type of x-ray result would be tuberculous or fungal granuloma, and malignant or benign tumors.

Bronchial cancer - CT scan

This chest CT scan shows a cross-section of a person with bronchial cancer. The two dark areas are the lungs. The light areas within the lungs represent the cancer.

Bronchial cancer - chest X-ray

This is a chest x-ray of a person with bronchial cancer. This is a front view. The lungs are the two dark areas. The heart and other structures are white areas visible in the middle of the chest. The light areas that appear as subtle branches extending from the center into the lungs are cancerous.

Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan

This CT scan shows a cross section of the lungs of a person with lung cancer. The two dark areas in the middle of the screen are the lungs. The light areas in the right lung (on the left of the screen) represent the cancer.

Lung cancer - chemotherapy treatment

Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Chemotherapy is a form of treatment for lung cancer which may cure, shrink or keep the cancer from spreading.

Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma usually develops on the outer boundaries of the lungs and is more commonly found in women than in men.

Non-small cell carcinoma

Non-small cell carcinomas are the most common lung cancers.

Small cell carcinoma

Small cell carcinoma, also called oat cell carcinoma, can create its own hormones, which alter body chemistry.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma commonly starts in the bronchi and may not spread as rapidly as other lung cancers.

Secondhand smoke and lung cancer

Secondhand smoke has been classified as a known cause of lung cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).

Normal lungs and alveoli

The lungs are located in the chest cavity and are responsible for respiration. The alveoli are small sir sacs where oxygen is exchanged in the lungs.

Respiratory system

Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.

Smoking hazards

Smoking cigarettes puts a person at risk for emphysema, lung cancer and other health problems. Second-hand smoke (smoke from a nearby cigarette) may also contribute to these diseases, especially among children.

Bronchoscope

Lung or bronchial biopsy (tissue samples taken to diagnose or rule out disease) may be done with the use of a flexible bronchoscope, an instrument with a small light and camera which is inserted through the nose or mouth. When a suspicious area is seen, an instrument is channeled through the bronchoscope to take a sample for analysis.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention