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The terms "small cell" and "large cell" are merely descriptive terms for the appearance of the cancer cells under the microscope. In addition to determining the appearance of the cells, your doctor will also perform tests to determine the size of the cancerous area, how abnormal the cells are, and whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other sites. While each of these factors is important, classifying a cancer based on its microscopic appearance helps your doctor determine:
Common terms used to describe the appearance of cancer cells include:
Other factors that help classify a cancer include:
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
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