Re: [MOL] sm cell lung cancer query [02400] Medicine On Line


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Re: [MOL] sm cell lung cancer query



What is small cell lung cancer?

Small cell lung cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found
in the tissues of the
lungs. The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped organs that take up much of the room
inside the chest.
The lungs bring oxygen into the body and take out carbon dioxide, which is a
waste product of the
body's cells. Tubes called bronchi make up the inside of the lungs.

There are two kinds of lung cancer based on how the cells look under a
microscope: small cell and
non-small cell. If a patient has non-small cell lung cancer, see the PDQ patient
information summary
on non-small cell lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer is usually found in people who smoke or who used to smoke
cigarettes. A
doctor should be seen if there are any of the following symptoms: a cough or
chest pain that doesn't
go away, a wheezing sound when breathing, shortness of breath, coughing up
blood, hoarseness, or
swelling in the face and neck.

If there are symptoms, a doctor may want to look into the bronchi through a
special instrument,
called a bronchoscope, that slides down the throat and into the bronchi. This
test, called
bronchoscopy, is usually done in the hospital. Before the test, the patient will
be given a local
anesthetic (a drug that causes a loss of feeling for a short period of time) in
the back of the throat.
Some pressure may be felt, usually with no pain. The doctor can take cells from
the walls of the
bronchi tubes or cut small pieces of tissue to look at under the microscope to
see if there are any
cancer cells. This is called a biopsy.

The doctor may also use a needle to remove tissue from a place in the lung that
may be hard to
reach with the bronchoscope. A cut will be made in the skin and the needle will
be put in between
the ribs. This is called a needle aspiration biopsy. The doctor will look at the
tissue under the
microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. Before the test, a local
anesthetic will be given to
keep the patient from feeling pain.

The chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the stage
of the cancer
(whether it is just in the lung or has spread to other places), and the
patient's gender and general
state of health.



STAGE EXPLANATION


Stages of small cell lung cancer

Once small cell lung cancer has been found, more tests will be done to find out
if cancer cells have
spread from one or both lungs to other parts of the body (staging). A doctor
needs to know the
stage of the disease to plan treatment. The following stages are used for small
cell lung cancer:


Limited stage

Cancer is found only in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes. (Lymph nodes are
small, bean-shaped
structures that are found throughout the body. They produce and store
infection-fighting cells.)


Extensive stage

Cancer has spread outside of the lung where it began to other tissues in the
chest or to other parts of
the body.


Recurrent stage

Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has
been treated. It may
come back in the lungs or in another part of the body.



TREATMENT OPTION OVERVIEW


How small cell lung cancer is treated

There are treatments for all patients with small cell lung cancer. Three kinds
of treatment are used:

     surgery (taking out the cancer)
     radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill
cancer cells)
     chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells)

Additionally, clinical trials are testing the effect of new therapies on the
treatment of small cell lung
cancer.

Surgery may be used if the cancer is found only in one lung and in nearby lymph
nodes. Because this
type of lung cancer is usually not found in only one lung, surgery alone is not
often used.
Occasionally, surgery may be used to help determine exactly which type of lung
cancer the patient
has. If a patient does have surgery, the doctor may take out the cancer in one
of the following
operations:

     Wedge resection removes only a small part of the lung.
     Lobectomy removes an entire section (lobe) of the lung.
     Pneumonectomy removes the entire lung.

During surgery, the doctor will also take out lymph nodes to see if they contain
cancer.

Radiation therapy uses x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and
shrink tumors.
Radiation therapy for small cell lung cancer usually comes from a machine
outside the body (external
beam radiation therapy). It may be used to kill cancer cells in the lungs or in
other parts of the body
where the cancer has spread. Radiation therapy may also be used to prevent the
cancer from
growing in the brain. This is called prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI).
Because PCI may affect
brain function, the doctor will help the patient decide whether to have this
kind of radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy can be used alone or in addition to surgery and/or
chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment of all stages of small cell lung
cancer. Chemotherapy
may be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or
muscle. Chemotherapy
is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels
through the body, and
can kill cancer cells outside the lungs, including cancer cells that have spread
to the brain.


Treatment by stage

Treatment of small cell lung cancer depends on the stage of the disease, and the
patient's age and
overall condition.

Standard treatment may be considered because of its effectiveness in patients in
past studies, or
participation in a clinical trial may be considered. Most patients are not cured
with standard therapy
and some standard treatments may have more side effects than are desired. For
these reasons,
clinical trials are designed to find better ways to treat cancer patients and
are based on the most
up-to-date information. Clinical trials are ongoing in most parts of the country
for most stages of
small cell lung cancer. To learn more about clinical trials, call the Cancer
Information Service at
1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); TTY at 1-800-332-8615.



LIMITED STAGE SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

Treatment may be one of the following:

     1. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the chest with or without
radiation therapy to the
     brain to prevent spread of the cancer (prophylactic cranial irradiation).

     2. Chemotherapy with or without prophylactic cranial irradiation.

     3. Surgery followed by chemotherapy with or without prophylactic cranial
irradiation.

Clinical trials are testing new drugs and new ways of giving all of the above
treatments.



EXTENSIVE STAGE SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

Treatment may be one of the following:

     1. Chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to the brain to prevent
spread of the
     cancer (prophylactic cranial irradiation).

     2. Radiation therapy to places in the body where the cancer has spread,
such as the brain,
     bone, or spine to relieve symptoms.

Clinical trials are testing new drugs and new ways of giving all of the above
treatments.



RECURRENT SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

Treatment may be one of the following:

     1. Radiation therapy to reduce discomfort.

     2. Chemotherapy to reduce discomfort.

     3. Laser therapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgical implantation of
devices to keep the
     airways open to relieve discomfort.

     4. A clinical trial testing new drugs.

Greg Szymkowiak wrote:

> Could you explain to me what small cell cancer is and what is the
> cure......looking for info for a friend
>
> thanks for your time
>
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