Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

Your Path

  • Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)


  • 10-15% of lung cancer
  • More chemo responsive than non-small cell

Risk Factors

  • Family hx
  • Most common RF is tobacco smoking
  • Other Rfs include asbestos exposure, environmental smoke, ionizing radiation, radon, marijuana/hookah


  • Hemoptysis
  • Weight loss
  • Tends to be more rapidly progressive than NSCLC (marked mediastinal adenopathy)
  • Progressive cough, SOB, DOE (can evolve rapidly over weeks)
  • Back/boney pain, neurological deficits/head ache/confusion--> mets to bone, brain, spine/cord, or metabolic derangements (e.g. hypercalcemia)
  • Para-neoplastic syndrome more common w/SCLC: Cushings (increase cortisol via ACTH), SIADH (hyponatremia), NMJ antibodies (Eaton-Lambert), other
  • Facial fullness, confusion, throat discomfort w/SVC syndrome

Physical Exam Findings

  • Wheezing or stridor (based on anatomic location)
  • Bronchial breath sounds if consolidation
  • Decreased breath sounds and dullness if effusion
  • Pain over site of a boney met
  • Neuro deficits if mets