Recognizing and Treating Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Recognizing and Treating Small Cell Lung Cancer

The growth of small cell lung cancer in the body is aggressive and difficult to treat. It takes many forms, including oat cell and combined small and large cell carcinomas.? Unlike other forms of lung cancer, surgery is generally not an option, and patients undergo courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment when appropriate.

Early Diagnosis

The sooner this cancer is detected, the faster a course of treatment to prevent further spreading can begin.? Experiencing any of these common symptoms should prompt an immediate visit to the doctor:

-Difficulty swallowing

-Coughing up blood

-Chronic difficulty breathing or wheezing

-General unexplained weakness

-Shortness of breath

Getting a check-up for one or more of these symptoms, especially if they are recurring, may help doctors detect the early stages of cancer. Finding this type of carcinoma in its first stages gives the patient a better chance of eradicating it.? As this is a form of cancer particular to smokers, regular tobacco users should report symptoms to their doctor immediately.

Treatment

Chemotherapy is the primary method of attacking this rapidly metastasizing form of the disease. The powerful drugs are taken orally or by injection, and have noted side effects on the patient. Chief among these are nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, and general weakness.? If chemotherapy is not effective alone, it may be coupled with radiation treatment.? By contrast, the sole use of radiation is often employed to kill a single tumor or cancer contained in the chest area.

To determine the type of cancer and progression throughout the body, doctors perform several tests.? Bone scans, MRI's, CT scans, a CBC test (blood cell count,) and chest x-rays are a few of the procedures used to 'research' the status of the cancer. Tests will include taking one or more biopsy samples by various means.

Prevention

As in all forms of cancers, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the chances of developing a form of this disease. Prevention measures include avoidance of cigarettes and other tobacco products. If symptoms do develop, see a doctor as soon as possible.

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