Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Small-Cell Lung Cancer Overview

When cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner, the condition is called lung cancer. Lung cancer can affect any part of the lung. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both women and men in the United States, Canada, and China. Two main types of lung cancer exist: small-cell lung cancer (SCLC, also called oat cell cancer) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small-cell lung cancer accounts for approximately 20-25% of all cases of lung cancer.Small-cell lung cancer differs from non-small-cell lung cancer in the following ways:

  • Small-cell lung cancer grows rapidly.The time from the development of symptoms to diagnosis is usually 90 days or less.
  • Small-cell lung cancer spreads quickly. From 67% to 75% of People who develop small cell lung cancer, will have spread of the cancer outside of the lung at the time of initial diagnosis.
  • Small-cell lung cancer responds well to chemotherapy (using medications to kill cancer cells) and radiation therapy (using high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells).
  • Small-cell lung cancer is frequently associated with distinct paraneoplastic syndromes (collection of symptoms that result from substances produced by the tumor, occurring far away from the tumor).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/25/2014
Medical Author:
Coauthor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cancers are diseases in which normal cells transform so that they grow and multiply without normal controls. In many types of cancer, this results in the growth...learn more >>
Lung Cancer Medications
Understanding Lung Cancer Medications Medical therapy options for lung cancer include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. These treatments help decrease tumor growth and size. When tumor growth...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Small-Cell Lung Cancer:

Small-Cell Lung Cancer - Treatment

What was the treatment for your small-cell lung cancer?

Small-Cell Lung Cancer - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your small-cell lung cancer?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lung Cancer, Oat Cell (Small Cell) »

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is considered distinct from other lung cancers, called non–small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), because of their clinical and biologic characteristics.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary