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CANCER INFORMATION

Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are two basic types of lung cancer: non small cell and small cell. Small cell lung cancer affects about twenty out of every one hundred lung cancer patients. Small cell lung cancer is most commonly found in smokers. It is also commonly known as oat cell lung cancer. The biggest problem with small cell lung cancer is the speed at which is spreads, which is quite rapidly, making it a very formidable disease. Typically this type of lung cancer forms within the bronchioles and spreads throughout the lungs at a fairly rapid pace. The positive side of small cell lung cancer is that many patients have a positive response to chemotherapy. A pathologist typically observes the cells to verify that the patient is in fact suffering from small cell lung cancer, and then refers this information to the patient's doctor so that he or she may decide on the right treatment. There are two basic stages of small cell lung cancer. One stage is called limited stage, which means the cancer is generally limited to the confines of the chest. Extended is the other stage, and this means that the cancer has then spread to other organs and parts of the body. If caught in a timely fashion, most small cell lung cancer can be treated before it gets to the extended or spreading stage. There are many risk factors for getting small cell lung cancer, and the most common are smoking, prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, and exposure to things such as radon or asbestos.

There are many symptoms involved with small cell lung cancer. These are pretty much common with all forms of the disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, unusual tiredness or fatigue, coughing up blood, chest pain, swollen face or neck, loss of appetite, and others. If you feel like you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a more usual basis, it is a good idea to contact your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to talk to you and ask questions, as well as run the proper tests to determine what is causing your symptoms. Most people who are smokers may experience some of these symptoms on a somewhat normal basis even if they do not have lung cancer, however if you are a smoker, it is even more prudent that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Many tests can help to determine whether or not you have any form of lung cancer. The earlier the disease is detected, the better the odds are that it will not spread to other parts of the body. In addition, very early detection can help with early treatment, increasing the odds of survival. The best advice that people can follow in order to avoid getting small cell or another form of lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you are currently smoking. This alone can greatly improve the chances that you will not get lung cancer.

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