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The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Husband has small cell lung cancer

Hello all

My husband is newly diagnosed with advanced small cell lung cancer which has metastasized into his liver and back. This we know from a CT scan and also a liver biopsy which diagnosed small cell. PET scan was performed yesterday so we will know for certain if these are the only places. We have completed our first round of chemo( infusion drip) and today he is having his port put in.

My question is about the staging of small cell. Does it not get staged like other cancers. I'm trying to understand how soon we have caught this to guess what to expect in our future. I know a lot depends on how his cancer responds to the chemo.

Any responses are welcome. I just don't know what to expect.

Thank you

Pam R

4 Replies

Hi Pam,

One thing I have learned is that this disease is very unpredictable. It is good that treatment has started as it seems to be well documented that small cell moves fast, but response to chemo can be good. It is not good news that it has spread to his liver and back as this would be what some people class as extensive sclc. I hope he tolerates chemo well as this may help keep it at bay and give you quality time.

Sorry I tell you what to expect, it just varies so much. I am not tolerating chemo well but I know others are flying through it! Hope your husband is in the latter group.



Advanced small cell is the last stage of this type of cancer.


Dear Pam

So sorry to hear about your Husband and how difficult it must be for you all just now.

Staging for SCLC can be done by the TNM staging (Tumour, Nodes and Metastasis)

This can be found on our website roycastle.org and also detailed on the following link: cancer.org/cancer/small-cel...

The other way to stage SCLC is explained as Limited stage - where the cancer is only seen in one lung and maybe nearby lymph nodes Extensive stage - where the cancer has spread outside the lung to other areas.

SCLC cells reproduce and grow quickly so may be difficult to know when it actually started or how long it has been there. It generally responds to chemotherapy better than other treatments.

Hopefully you will have more information when you receive the results of the PET scan and what the treatment/care plan will be for your Husband.

If your Husband does not have a lung cancer specialist nurse, this can be requested through the consultant or the chemotherapy team.

We have a free nurse led helpline number if you wish to discuss anything on 0333 323 7200

Wishing you all the very best

Kind regards

The Roy Castle Support Team

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Just an update on my husband's condition. He had his PET scan Monday and met with doctor Wednesday. After only one round of chemo(3 treatments) the doctor is very pleased since blood work looks so promising. He wants to add a month solid (every day) of radiation on top of chemo every three weeks. However the radiologist wants more imaging as she says the PET scan is inconclusive. She said she needs confirmation that it's not in his bones or in his brain as then radiation wouldn't be an option.

I guess doubling the two treatments together would increase the possibility of knocking all the cancer out?

I wasn't there so I'm not sure what the oncologists thoughts are.

I really don't see these two treatments being used together too much in examples online.

I'm not sure what to think.

Is this standard for advanced?


Pam R

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