Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Small Cell Carcinoma of the Lung Anatomy

To better understand small cell carcinoma of the lung, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lungs.

Inside the chest, the windpipe, or trachea, divides into two smaller tubes: the right bronchus and the left bronchus. The right bronchus enters the right lung and the left bronchus enters the left lung. The right bronchus and left bronchus branch into smaller and smaller tubes.

The smallest tubes, called bronchioles, end in tiny air sacs, called alveoli. Blood flows very close to the walls of the alveoli. Oxygen and carbon dioxide pass between the air and the bloodstream through the wall of the alveoli.

Anatomy examples:

  • The lung and airways
  • The bronchioles and alveoli
  • The lungs
  • Pulmonary vessels

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Small Cell Carcinoma of the Lung References
  1. El Maalouf G, Rodier JM, Faivre S, Raymond E. Could we expect to improve survival in small cell lung cancer? Lung Cancer. 2007 Aug;57 Suppl 2:S30-4. [17686444]
  2. Lally BE, Urbanic JJ, Blackstock AW, Miller AA, Perry MC. Small cell lung cancer: have we made any progress over the last 25 years? Oncologist. 2007 Sep;12(9):1096-104. [17914079]
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