A pair of lungs showing small cell lung cancer with charts in the background

The Experience In America: Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women accounting for 13 percent of all new cancers. Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers (SCLC).1,2

Many of the current cancer surveys out there overlook the lung cancer community and, more specifically, those with SCLC. In order to paint a clearer picture of what life looks like with this aggressive, less common type of cancer we asked the LungCancer.net community to participate in our annual In America survey.

A total of 92 people with SCLC responded to our Lung Cancer In America survey. Here is what they shared about life with SCLC.

What is it like being diagnosed with SCLC?

The survey found that 61 percent of respondents were diagnosed in the early stage. While 73 percent received a diagnosis within 2 weeks of their first appointment, 27 percent were diagnosed more than 2 weeks after this appointment.

The survey also found some common themes in how people are first diagnosed with SCLC. Fifty-five percent were diagnosed after experiencing symptoms and seeing a healthcare provider. Nine percent were diagnosed after a routine medical exam. Another 7 percent were diagnosed after a lung cancer screening.

Health care satisfaction matters

We know that overall satisfaction during diagnosis and treatment largely hinges on the healthcare team. We found that 76 percent of those with SCLC who took our survey were satisfied with the care they received from their doctor.

Information that is easily digestible and understood remains a factor in patient satisfaction. According to the study, 68 percent say that the information given to them by their care team about tests and diagnosis was easy-to-understand.

The value of support systems

Finding a reliable support system is crucial when facing a lung cancer diagnosis. Of SCLC survey respondents, 59 percent had a spouse actively involved in their care while 49 percent had a child involved. Thirty two percent said a friend took on a major role in supporting them through their diagnosis and treatment.

SCLC clinical trial disparities

Of the 92 people with SCLC surveyed in the Lung Cancer In America, an astounding 92 percent have never participated in a clinical trial. Cancer clinical trials have strict enrollment criteria, making participation difficult. When asked if they were interested in participating in a clinical trial, 51 percent said they were not interested.

What's your experience with SCLC?

The results from our survey are only the beginning looks into life with SCLC. Easy-to-digest information from their doctor, good communication, the need for a strong support system, and questions exploring treatment advances are highly important to those living with SCLC.

We want to hear about your experiences with SCLC. Did you experience symptoms prior to your SCLC diagnosis? Do you feel supported by your care team? Have you participated in a clinical trial? If you are living with SCLC and have similar (or different) experiences to share, go to LungCancer.net's share your story submission page to tell us more.

About the survey: Developed and administered by Health Union, Lung Cancer In America 2019 surveyed 867 U.S. respondents diagnosed or in the process of being diagnosed with lung cancer, as well as 130 caregivers of current or deceased patients, from January 7 to March 14, 2019. A total of 92 of the 867 respondents were identified as diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and used in the data for this article.

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