There are two main types of lung cancer; small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). SCLC is responsible for approximately 20% of these lung cancers. It is sometimes referred to as oat cell carcinoma due to the small cells in the lung bearing a similar resemblance to oats. This type of cancer develops when the small cells start to grow rapidly and uncontrollably. There are a number of signs that can indicate SCLC including a persistent cough, feeling out of breath for no apparent reason and chest pains. If you notice any of these signs or have any other reason to believe that you may have SCLC you should go see your doctor and get yourself tested. In this article I will be explaining some of the tests they may perform in greater detail.
1) PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:- The first test your doctor is likely to perform is a physical examination. This will allow them to ask you some questions about your overall health and to view your symptoms for themselves. They will also be able to question you about your smoking habits. Using this information your doctor can then determine whether you need further testing for SCLC.
2) CHEST X-RAY:- If your doctor feels that you require further testing following the physical examination they may recommend a chest x-ray. This will allow them to see if there are any visible abnormalities in the lungs which could turn out to be small cell lung cancer.
3) COMPUTERISED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN:- A CT scan is another useful small cell lung cancer test. It uses multiple x-rays to build a three dimensional picture of the lungs. Your doctor can then use this picture to get a better luck at any lumps or abnormalities that may have developed in the small cells.
4) BRONCHOSCOPY:- A bronchoscopy allows your doctor to look at the inside of your airways using a bronchoscope (a small, flexible tube which contains a camera or eyepiece). If they identify any possible tumours the bronchoscope can then be used to take a tissue sample. This sample can then be examined in a laboratory to determine whether small cell lung caner cells are present.
Although SCLC is one of the less common types of lung cancer it is still something that should not be ignored. If you develop a constant cough, chest pains or notice any other suspicious symptoms that affect your chest you should go see your doctor and talk to them about getting yourself tested. It may turn out to be nothing but it could crucially help you identify small cell lung cancer in the early stages when it is most treatable.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Small cell lung cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.