Lung Cancer, Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
What is Small Cell Lung Cancer?
A disease of the tissue found in the lung. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the second most common type of lung cancer, occuring in 10% to 15% of cases. It occurs most commonly in smokers and because it spreads rapidly, up to 70% of patients have metastatic disease at diagnosis. SCLC responds very well to chemotherapy and radiation because of its rapid-type growth.
The stage of SCLC can vary at diagnosis and throughout treatment. Most doctors classify patients two ways: Limited stage or Extensive stage.
- Limited stage SCLC generally means it is found only in one lung, in lymph nodes on one side of the chest, and can be treated with radiation in a single field, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. About one-third of patients with small cell lung cancer are diagnosed with limited stage.
- Extensive stage is when tumors are found in both lungs and distant organs. This is usually treated with only chemotherapy (and NO radiation) because the cancer is widespread and whole body radiation would be too toxic. Two-thrids of patients with small cell lung cancer are diagnosed with extensive stage
Doctors may also use the Tumor, Node, Metastasis (TNM) staging. Once TNM categories have been decided by the doctor, stage grouping is used: Stages are: 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 (0, I, II, III, IV), with some sub-grouping using letters A and B. The effectiveness of the treatment may depend upon the stage at diagnosis.
NOTE: Treatment Options listed below are not all-inclusive. Other treatments may be available. ChemoExperts provides drug information and does not recommend any one treatment over another. Only your Doctor can choose which therapy is appropriate for you.
Notice to user: The term chemotherapy, later shortened to “chemo”, originated in the early 1900s from Nobel Prize winning German physician and chemist, Dr. Paul Erlich. Dr. Erlich defined chemotherapy to mean “the use of chemicals as a therapy to treat disease.” (Source). Many years later, the term became synonymous with the use of chemicals to treat cancer specifically. Because early cancer therapies became quickly known for their severe side effect profile, the term chemotherapy took on a negative connotation. If we fast forward several decades, the anti-cancer therapies used today have become refined, and for many diseases, treatment can be safely taken in the comfort of your own home.
As chemotherapy has become particularly targeted, certain side effects have lessened, while new side effects have emerged. However, the premise behind therapy, that is using a chemical to kill cancer, has not changed. Therefore, the clinicians who created ChemoExperts.com believe the term “chemotherapy” still very much applies to all anti-cancer medications, but importantly, can no longer suggest what, if any, side effects a patient is likely to experience. For this to become clear, education regarding each individual drug, as well as information derived from the use of combination therapy (multiple chemo medications) is required. As a result, we have structured our website to make it easier for users to learn about cancer treatment and hope that if you are taking or receiving chemotherapy, that ChemoExperts.com is able to provide you with the tools needed to make the journey a little easier and life more rewarding.
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