Jill Feldman, Montessa Lee, Dr. Christine Lovly

In this small cell lung cancer video you will learn the answers to these questions:

  1. What are the stages in small cell lung cancer?
  2. How is Limited Stage small cell lung cancer treated?
  3. Is treatment for Extensive Stage small cell lung cancer different?
  4. After a small cell lung cancer diagnosis, is it important to find a lung specialist or is staying with a community oncologist OK?

Small Cell Lung Cancer Stages

Doctors commonly divide SCLC into two stages, limited-stage and extensive-stage.

Limited-stage disease (LD) means the cancer is contained in one part of the chest. Although the tumor is in one place, surgery is rarely an option for limited-stage SCLC.

Extensive-stage disease (ED) means that the cancer has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body like the second lung, bone, or brain. Since SCLC, and lung cancer in general, is often not diagnosed until symptoms are present, most people (about 2 in 3) have extensive-stage SCLC when the cancer is found.

How is Limited Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated?

The most widely used treatment plan for limited-stage SCLC is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The chemotherapy regimen includes a platinum-based drug, like cisplatin or carboplatin, and etoposide. During the first or second round of chemotherapy, the patient will also receive radiation therapy directed at the cancer in the chest.

Radiation therapy can also be used to prevent SCLC from spreading to the brain.

Is Treatment for Extensive Stage SCLC Different?

In the case of extensive-stage SCLC, it may be used to palliate tumors elsewhere in the body, such as in the brain or bone, before chemotherapy.
Extensive-stage treatments incorporate chemotherapy and immunotherapy when small cell lung cancer reaches this stage.

Should I Find a Lung Cancer Specialist?

Even though both limited-stage and extensive-stage small cell lung cancer patients are treated with chemo and radiation, it is still important to find a lung cancer specialist – especially if your cancer is extensive-stage.

A specialist in small cell lung cancer will have the knowledge and access to the latest treatment information as well as the most promising clinical trials.