Small cell cervical cancer

Stephen C. Rubin, MD
Last Modified: January 1, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I was diagnosed and treated for small cell cervical cancer. I have not found any info on this cancer is there another name for it? My doctor said it was rare in the cervix. 


Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Small cell cancer of the cervix is an unusual type of cancer that has a more aggressive behavior than the typical cancer of the cervix. The 'small cell? refers to the way the tumors look under the microscope (small, round, blue), which is very different from the way a typical cervical cancer cell looks microscopically. There is not much information specifically available outside of the medical literature on this diagnosis because of its rarity. Many studies use the term "Extrapulmonary Small Cell Cancer" which refers to any diagnosis of the disease outside of the lung. Many studies pool the results of treatment from a variety of sites because the diagnosis is so rare outside of the lung. When this diagnosis it made, there is a dramatic impact on the treatment recommendations. Treatment, which depends on stage, may include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. This tumor has a higher chance of spreading to distant areas of the body, so chemotherapy is usually included in the treatment plan.