What's Next. Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosed

Hi everyone, First time here. I apologise for the very lengthy post. Hope this is not too long for here.  Feeling a bit shocked and despondent. I was sent for an x-ray in March after suffering from a heavy cold which left me with a bad cough. My voice also went hoarse.. (This lasted a couple of months but has now returned). GP rang me to say x-ray was ok but they couldn't see behind my pacemaker and she had ordered a CT scan. Duly had the scan and seen results on line which queried possible lung cancer. Panicked and phoned GP who explained procedure. Hospital contacted and arranged further CT scan  which confirmed mass on upper left lobe of left lung .also small nodule. Since then had various tests including PET scan and biopsies taken. Seen consultant last week who went through all test results though still waiting for two of the biopsies results. PEt scan showed activity in my lung and bladder which wa expected as I have Crohn's and have been having problems for some time while waiting to see consultant for this.  Consultant was very good explaining though would need full biopsy results to establish type of cancer and treatment. Initially he discounted operation due to my other health problems but after discussion said he would put me forward to a new holistic group who would then take this forward. Two very slight areas showed up on PET scan, end of one rib and spot on spine. Wasn't clear what these where.  would need an MRI scan. If secondaries then no op , treatment instead only. So could be Stage II or stage VI. If MRI not clear he would treat as Stage II as no sign of any activity anywhere else.  Problem getting MRI scan due to my pacemaker. They have contacted hospital who did pacemaker to see if comparable for MRI scan. Appears box and two of the three leads are ok but query over one lead which will not be discussed until next week. 

Mesnwhile, Got Tel call Friday to go to apt today. Seen registrar who told me biopsies results back and it is small cell cancer. No op and getting referred to Christies for treatment and that SCLC responded well to treatment. All other possible options previously mentioned now off the table.  Registrar was reluctant to tell me much more as she felt the oncologist as the expert would be able to explain better. Probably get apt in next week or so etc.

Was given a booklet and since reading it I feel totally confused. worried, frightened about future as appears this worst type and aggressive. Got it into my head that it is spreading as I type. 

Sorry for the rambling and lengthy piece. Trying to get my head around it. Feel as though gone from thinking it may be possible to beati cancer to crashing down . I had breast cancer 20 years ago and got through that but this feels bad.

Does anyone have any experience of small cell cancer and treatment received etc. Any advice gratefully accepted.

  • Hi

    So very sorry that you have cause to be on here.

    I have been through the Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)  journey so can appreciate your concerns.  

    initially I ws under that care of the Consultants at the local hospital (Trafford General). Although they were extremely good, I worried that  my situation must have been a no-hoper as I hadn't been referred to The Christie. I later realised that the local hospitals do the initial testings such as scans, biopsies etc while all the time liaising with The Christie.  The day I walked into The Christie I felt a great sense of relief as I knew that whatever the outcomes, I would be receiving the best  available treatments and care.  That day was early Sept 2011 and I am still here to tell the tale.

    As for the SCLC treatment, operations are not usually appropriate for SCLC as this type of cancer does not form regular tumours. On the X-ray, my SCLC looked as though someone had stretched a cotton wool ball from the entrance to my left lung up to and across the top of the lung!  Yes, SCLC is known to respond well to chemo in terms of shrinking the tumour.  

    I had no underlying medical issues, nor did I have a history of cancer, so they threw everything at me in terms of the treatment plan; 4 cycles of chemo, along side 33 daily sessions of high dose radiotherapy and finished with 10 daily sessions of preventative low dose radiotherapy to the brain.  They warned me it would be brutal and they were correct; however it was very much doable.

    Now in the last 11 years the treatments have moved on and are a lot kinder,with less side effects.    Plus more recently immunotherapy treatment for SCLC has become available.  Your Oncology Consultant at The Christie will determine the best treatment plan for you., and will also explain everything to you. Please remember that there is no such thing as a daft question, so please just ask him/her about everything you are concerned about.

    I hope this helps a little bit, Please feel free to ask me anything.

    Kegsy x


    "If you are going through hell, keep going" ; Sir Winston Churchill
    " Cancer may take my life; however it will not become my life" Kegsy August 2011
  • Thanks for replying  Kegsy. Just been telephoned with apt to see oncologist tomorrow at Christies. You story has reassured me. I was planning my demise !Hopefully tomorrow will also bring clarification. Feel a bit bulldozed at present.  Thanks again. No doubt I will have more questions but good to know you have been through it and survived.