Lung Cancer Symptoms – SCLC and NSCLC
Two different types of cancer grow and spread in lungs in completely different ways and knowing the type becomes important to treatment. In the United States as well as the rest of the world, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both women and men. While most individuals with the disease will eventually experience lung cancer symptoms, some may never have them until the disease has progressed to the point when a chest X-ray becomes necessary. At this stage the prognosis is already poor, which is one of the reasons lung cancer has such a high mortality rate.
There are two different types of these cells that may be present in the lungs and they are classified by their appearance under the microscope; they include small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). There is the possibility that other forms of cancer can appear like bronchial carcinoids, but the percentage of this type is low and they usually present in individuals under the age of forty. Metastastatic cancers; that have come from other areas can also be found here.
The small cell type is very aggressive and rapidly grows. Unfortunately, they are not usually found until they have spread to other parts of the body. They can also be called oat cell carcinomas and their cause is directly connected to smoking cigarettes. Individuals that do not smoke account for only one percent of those affected by SCLC.
Non-small cell is found in three different types and makes up approximately eighty percent of cancers that are found in the lungs. Located in the outer areas of the lungs are adenocarcinomas and these are found in smokers and non-smokers alike. Located in the chest area more often than the bronchi are squamous cell carcinomas which are far less common. The most uncommon type are large cell carcinomas. A mixture of all three types can be possible.
Symptoms are most likely related to either the original tumor, to malignant issues with hormones and blood or other systems that have been affected by metastastatic tumors. A new cough or a persistent one that will not clear up may be initial indicators that there is a problem. If there is blood associated with the cough it is certainly a serious issue.
Being short of breath, wheezing and chest pain may be important indicators that a problem exists. Pain can be associated with areas other than the lung. Wheezing and being short of breath may be related to fluid collecting around lungs; called pleural effusion. All of these may also indicate that there is some sort of blockage. Repeated respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis can also be indications.
It may not occur often, but it is possible that a buildup of fluid between the heart and sac surrounding it may occur and this is called a pericardial effusion. A collapsed lung is also a possibility which is called a pneumothorax. If the cancer has metastasized to other areas then there will also be associated symptoms with that.
A group of tests will be performed that should include PET scans, X-rays, CT scans and bone scans. The physician has to make a decision regarding the current stage of the disease. The prognosis is typically not optimistic for this type because the disease is usually advanced by the time the lung cancer symptoms have actually appeared.