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Doctor insights on: How Fast Does Small Cell Lung Cancer Grow

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How long does it take for a small cell lung cancer to grow 5 cm?

How long does it take for a small cell lung cancer to grow 5 cm?

Hard to tell: Small cell lung cancer is a rapid growing cancer, but the exact size change in a particular patient is often hard to predict. Several factors affect the growth of tumors in a person, including immune factors and genetic factors. But in general, once small cell lung cancer is diagnosed, it is never just watched, so it is hard to see how fast it will grow.

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Dr. Barry Rosen
4,330 Doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more


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Would you have symptoms of small cell lung cancer for 18 months prior to diagnosis, or does small cell grow too rapidly for this to happen?

Would you have symptoms of small cell lung cancer for 18 months prior to diagnosis, or does small cell grow too rapidly for this to happen?

Depends on the grade: After a biopsy, when small cell carcinoma is diagnosed, it is often given a "grade" by the pathologist (e.g., low-grade or high-grade) based on the appearance under a microscope. There are small cell cancers that can grow slowly, & only be discovered on screening CT scans (not causing any symptoms). Others cause symptoms & spread quickly (high-grade). Not all small cell cancers behave alike.

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My dad has small cell lung cancer, after chemotherapy the tumor was reduced 80%, can it still grow if left alone?

My dad has small cell lung cancer, after chemotherapy the tumor was reduced 80%, can it still grow if left alone?

Yes: Small cell lung cancer often responds very well to chemotherapy (shrinks) but it is unfortunately also common for the cancer to return after the completion of chemotherapy. Your medical and radiation oncologists can give you the best information for your father's particular case.

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How fast does cachexia in someone with non small cell lung cancer advance to refractory stage and can it be reversed?

How fast does cachexia in someone with non small cell lung cancer advance to refractory stage and can it be reversed?

Treatment of cancer: Reversal of cachexia depends on successful treatment of the cancer. The rate of progression, if the cancer is not curable, is not predictable. If the cancer is not curable you may wish to seek palliative and/or hospice care for the patient.

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How do you cure small cell lung cancer?

How do you cure small cell lung cancer?

Rarely is cured.: It depends on the stage and if the cancer has spread. Small cell lung carcinoma is usually treated with chemotherapy and radiation. It is one of the most aggressive subtypes of lung cancer. Definitely consult with an oncologist, but patients with small cell should weigh the benefits of participating in treatment offered in clinical trials at university centers.

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What can be done for small cell lung cancer?

What can be done for small cell lung cancer?

Chemotherapy: Small cell lung cancer is a neuroendocrine carcinoma that shows some response to specialized chemotherapy, although this tumor type tends to follow a fairly aggressive clinical course.

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What are the tests for small cell lung cancer?

What are the tests for small cell lung cancer?

Diagnostic test: First of all, a biopsy needs to be done to establish a diagnosis. Once is confirmed, then staging work-up needs to be done that include- ct scan; a bone scan and imaging for the head- MRI brain will be preferable than ct scan- if possible. Discuss further with your oncologist.

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What are the symptoms of small cell lung cancer?

What are the symptoms of small cell lung cancer?

Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath and hemoptysis are common. Often they are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic until you have extensive disease. Depending on the spread of disease, pain and neurologic issue can arise.

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What can you do to treat small cell lung cancer?

What can you do to treat small cell lung cancer?

Non surgical: Once cell type determined, surgery is not usual. Chemo/ radiation as to location etc.

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How are non small and small cell lung cancer different?

How are non small and small cell lung cancer different?

Lung cancer: Small ("oat") cell lung cancer is distinguished by the fact that is has almost always spread beyond the lung when discovered and is therefore not surgically curable, but responds very well to initial chemotherapy. Now that the other common types are coming to be more treatable as well, "non-small cell" is giving way to more elaborate diagnostic schemes. Good luck ; keep up hope.

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How likely is it that small cell lung cancer will return?

Quite likely: Quite likely, unfortunately. Small cell lung cancer is considered spread at the time of diagnosis, that is why surgery is usually not an option. Some patients may have a complete remission with treatment, but in most cases it returns.

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Please describe the survival rates of small cell lung cancer?

Please describe the survival rates of small cell lung cancer?

Limited: Most with this diagnosis have less than 2 years of survival, unless found when small and peripheral so it can be removed!

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What is the definition or description of: Small cell lung cancer?

What is the definition or description of: Small cell lung cancer?

Neuroendocrine tumor: Primary lung lesions are comprised mainly of malignant cells of the bronchus or squamous cell cell and malignant cells of lung glandular tissue or adenocarcinoma of lung. The 3 rd tumor is neuroendocrine or small cell Ca. It is similar in structure and response to the carcinoid of bowel.Tumors other than mets are therefore classed as small cell and non small cell tumors.

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What happens during the last few weeks of small cell lung cancer?

What happens during the last few weeks of small cell lung cancer?

End of life: If small cell carcinoma is terminal, it means that all means of treatment have failed. Symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and pain will become more pronounced. This is the time to have comfort care measures in place to make the end as bearable as possible. Pain control at this point is critical.

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There's small cell lung cancer, but are the small cell other cancers?

There's small cell lung cancer, but are the small cell other cancers?

Yes: Small cell carcinomas may arise in many organs. They typically show evidence of differentiation toward certain glandular structures, called 'neuroendocrine' differentiation. Small cell cancers tend to be rapidly proliferating tumors, and thus may be treated initially with chemotherapy.

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If your small cell lung cancer comes back, how do you treat it a second time?

If your small cell lung cancer comes back, how do you treat it a second time?

Depends: This depends on if the cancer came back locally or if it comes back distantly. I would recommend a PET/CT scan to see how much disease is in the body. A Brain MRI is also crucial to make sure there are no brain metastasis.

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Is there such a thing as a low grade small cell lung cancer that is slow growing?

Is there such a thing as a low grade small cell lung cancer that is slow growing?

No.: One of the critical characteristics of small cell carcinoma is that they are fast growing. Other types of non-small cell cancer can be slower growth rate

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How likely is it for someone who has never smoked or been around smokers to be diagnosed with small cell lung cancer?

It used to be: Uncmon go people not to get lung cancer without known exposures but it is becoming more and more common. The exact rates are not known. It is still not likely to get lung cancer of any kind without a significant exposure.

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Is it true that small cell lung cancer is considered a sleeper cell where it only presents itself aggressively in the final stages? Making sense of dx

Is it true that small cell lung cancer is considered a sleeper cell where it only presents itself aggressively in the final stages? Making sense of dx

Interesting term: All cancers can display a wide range of behavior, from very slow, to very fast growing. This is true even of small cell cancer, which has a well-earned reputation of growing rapidly and spreading early, often before it's detected. I've never heard the term "sleeper cell" used in this field, but if it applies anywhere, this might be a reasonable description of all lung cancer, esp small cell.

Lung (Definition)

Deoxygenated blood enters the lungs from the right side of the heart and travels to the lungs. When you inspire, oxygen flows into the lungs, transverses the capilliares and attaches to hemoglobin down a gradient. At the same time, co2 diffuses into the capilaries and is expelled with exhalation. Oxygen rich blood then flows to the left side of the heart and into the ...Read more


Dr. David Cooke
856 Doctors shared insights

Lung Cancer (Definition)

Cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. The two main types are small cell lung cancer and ...Read more