UF Health Lung Cancer Program: Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

About 10 to 15 percent of all lung cancers are the small cell type. Other names for SCLC are oat cell carcinoma and small cell undifferentiated carcinoma.

This cancer often starts in the bronchi near the center of the chest. Although the cancer cells are small, they can divide quickly, form large tumors, and spread to lymph nodes and other organs throughout the body. This is important because it means that surgery is rarely an option and never the only treatment given. Treatment must include drugs to kill the widespread disease.

This kind of cancer is almost always caused by smoking. It is very rare for someone who has never smoked to have small cell lung cancer.

Source: Adapted from content provided by the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org). Always consult a physician about specific medical problems.