Small Cell Lung Cancer

What Is Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women. However, it typically affects those of older ages. The average age of diagnosis is 70 years old. There are two major types of lung cancer:  Small cell lung cancer and Non-small cell lung cancer. If a lung cancer has characteristics of both,  it is called combined small cell/non-small cell cancer—but this is relatively uncommon.

  • SCLC, also known as oat cell carcinoma or small cell undifferentiated carcinoma, often grows quickly and spreads throughout areas of the body (metastasizes) prior to its detection. It often metastasizes to the brain, liver, and bones. It is the less common of the two. There are two main types of small cell lung cancer:
    1. Small cell carcinoma
    2. Combined small cell carcinoma
  • Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) are more common than SCLC and tend to not spread throughout the body as quickly as SCLC. The three types of non-small cell lung cancers are:
    1.  Adenocarcinomas
    2. Squamous cell carcinomas
    3. Large cell carcinoma.
  • A third, very rare type of lung cancer has characteristics of both types and is referred to as mixed small cell/non-small cell lung cancer

It is also important to note that other cancers that originate in other sites of the body, such as breast or brain cancers, are not lung cancers, even when they spread or metastasize to the lungs. The cancer is still described by the area or organ of cancer origin.

Small cell lung cancer, or SCLC, is termed SCLC based on the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells look when viewed under a microscope. These cancer cells have large nuclei (the part of the cell which contained DNA) and appear small in size.

SCLC accounts for 10-15% of all lung cancers in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates in 2015 that 221,000 new lung cancer diagnoses will be made; and 158,040 people will die from lung cancer—comprising  24% of all cancer deaths.

What Causes Small Cell Lung Cancer

Risk Factors For Small Cell Lung Cancer

Diagnosing Small Cell Lung Cancer

Symptoms of Small Cell Lung Cancer


Living With Small Cell Lung Cancer



Medication And Treatment

Complementary and Alternative Treatment

When To Contact A Doctor

Questions For Your Doctor

Questions For A Doctor