How is Small Cell Carcinoma Diagnosed?
By Madeline May |
Small cell lung cancer is a specific type of lung cancer that forms within a patient's lungs. Medical professionals utilize several tests and procedures to properly diagnose SCLC. After diagnosing cancer, patients will work with their doctors to determine treatment options and their prognosis.
What is Small Cell Carcinoma?
- Localized – No sign that cancer has spread outside the lungs.
- Regional – Cancer has spread outside the lungs to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant – Cancer has spread to distant body parts like the brain, bones, liver, or the other lung.
|SEER Stage SCLC Lung Cancer||5-Year Survival Rate (% Alive 5 Years Later)|
|All SEER Stages Combined||7 percent|
Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosis
- Chest X-rays – the first step to screen for lung cancer
- Imaging scans such as computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans – the primary way to diagnose lung cancer
- Sputum cytology – checks for cancer cells in sputum, the mucus coughed up from the lungs
- Biopsy – removes tissue samples from the lungs and tests for lung cancer cells
- Bronchoscopy – examines the lung’s airways for tumors
A medical professional may use one or more of these tests to diagnose a patient. These tests can also be used to diagnose similar conditions such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is found on the lining of the lungs, whereas lung cancer is found within the lungs.
What is the Best Treatment for Small Cell Carcinoma?
Thoracotomy for Oat Cell Carcinoma
Surgery may be used if cancer is discovered in one lung and nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Doctors often utilize a thoracotomy to treat oat cell carcinomas. A thoracotomy is a surgery where a doctor cuts between the ribs that reach the lungs and other chest organs. By performing this procedure, doctors can biopsy or remove the cancerous tissues.
Types of Medications for Small Cell Lung Cancer
Most medications for lung cancer are used to shrink and kill tumors as well as prevent new growth. Other medications are prescribed to combat complications from other treatments. Medications used for lung cancer can be:
- Chemotherapy medications
- Immunotherapy medications
- Targeted therapy medications
- Palliative medications
- Complementary and alternative medications
Palliative Procedures for Small Cell Carcinoma
A patient has options if them and their doctor feel that they should undergo palliative treatment instead of curative treatments. Palliative care is used to relieve symptoms and combat the side effects of treatment. Palliative treatment care can include:
- Pleural effusion
- Massage therapy
- Nutritional supplements