Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. in both men and women, both the occurrence of lung cancer and the deaths related to it can be reduced. More than four out of every five cases of lung cancer are associated with cigarette smoking. The cause-and-effect relationship has been extensively documented. During the 1920s, large numbers of men began to smoke cigarettes, presumably in response to increased advertising. Twenty years later, the frequency of lung cancer in men climbed sharply. In the 1940s, significantly more women became smokers. Twenty years later, there was a similar dramatic increase in lung cancer among women.
Lung tumors almost always start in the spongy, pinkish gray walls of the bronchi -- the tubular, branching airways of the lungs. More than 20 types of malignant tumors that originate in the lung itself -- primary lung cancer -- have been identified. The major types are small-cell lung cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer. The more common non-small variety is primarily divided into squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large-cell carcinoma.
Several staging systems have been proposed for small cell lung cancer (SCLC). These staging systems include the following:
American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Tumor, Node, and Metastasis (TNM).
Veterans Administration Lung Study Group (VALG).
International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
No universally accepted definition of this term is available. Limited-stage disease (LD) SCLC is confined to the...