Most people know basically what cancer is. Many people know the different types of cancers there are. What a lot of people do not know is that every general type of cancer there is there are sub groups, more specific types of these cancers, (ex. Lung cancer) there are 3 types of lung cancer. The 3 types are: non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid tumor. We are going to focus on small cell lung cancer. What some of the risk factors are? What are the different ways to determine the presence of the cancer? What the statistics say about lung cancer? How to treat this cancer? As well as how we as nurses make a difference and affect people with cancer.
Small cell lung cancer has also been called oat cell cancer, oat cell carcinoma, and small cell undifferentiated carcinoma. This is about 10% to 15% of the total lung cancer cases. This type of cancer is known to spread rapidly. Small cell lung cancer is predominantly the type of cancer diagnosed for heavy smokers. This cancer can be treated and people can go into a remission, which is when tests show no more signs of cancer after treatment. On the other hand this cancer has been known to travel and lead to cancers in other places in the body. “Small cell lung cancer is named for the size of the cancer cell when seen under a microscope.” (American Cancer Society)
Small cell lung cancer starts with changes of the DNA in the lung cells. This makes the cells grow at a faster rate. “These cells may look a bit abnormal if seen under a microscope, but at this point they do not form a mass or tumor.” (American Cancer Society) The small changes do not cause symptoms and will not be detected by an X-Ray. Cancer doesn’t just appear, it develops over time. “Over time, the abnormal cells may acquire other gene changes, which cause them to progress to true cancer. As a cancer develops, the cancer cells may make chemicals that cause new blood vessels to form nearby. These blood vessels nourish the cancer cells, which can continue to grow and form a tumor large enough to be seen on imaging tests such as X-rays.” (American Cancer Society) Cancer cells can separate from the origin of the initial cancer and move to other areas of the body. The spreading of the cancer is called metastasizing. All forms of lung cancer have high mortality rates. This may be because these cancer cells are known to spread to these other areas before they are even detected by some tests. Cancer spreads through the body in 3 different ways. The cells can travel through the blood, tissue and lymph system. Through the blood the cancer cells travel through the blood vessels. Through the lymph system the cancer cells travel through the lymph vessels. The cancer cells can also travel through the tissue in the nearby areas. Once there is a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer has been made then there are tests done to see if and how far it has traveled, this is called staging.
There are many risk factors that...