Small cell lung cancer affects about 15% of lung cancer patients. Small cell lung cancer usually starts in the breathing tubes (bronchi) in the center of the chest. The cancer cells are small, but they usually grow very quickly and create large tumors. These tumors often spread rapidly (metastasize) to other parts of the body, including the brain, liver, and bone.
At Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), our dedicated thoracic team of radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists work together to determine:
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer.
Risk factors for small cell lung cancer include:
Sometimes lung cancer does not cause any symptoms and is found during a routine chest X-ray.
Small cell lung cancer is often asymptomatic initially. As a result, it often spreads to other parts of the lung or to other organs before it is detected. As the cancer progresses, possible signs and symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Consult your doctor if any of the following occur:
Find out more about small cell lung cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
Read our Insight blog for information and inspiration about treatment for lung cancer at Dana-Farber.
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