Lung cancer surgery
Surgery is the main treatment option for patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.
The decision as to whether surgery is appropriate will depend on how far the cancer has spread, and the patient's overall health. Tests of the heart and lung function tests will be arranged before the operation goes ahead.
The goal of the surgical procedure is to remove the lung cancer tumour. Chemotherapy is usually given after the operation to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
The three types of lung cancer surgery are:
- Lobectomy, in which sections of the affected lung called lobes are removed.
- Pneumonectomy, in which the whole affected lung is removed.
- Wedge resection or segmentectomy, in which a part of the lung is removed.
Surgery is not usually recommended for small cell lung cancer, because this form of lung cancer spreads quickly.
It is possible to breathe normally with just one lung. However, an operation for lung cancer is a major operation. Many people experience pain, weakness, tiredness, and shortness of breath after surgery. Most have problems with moving around, coughing, and breathing deeply. The recovery period can be several weeks or even months.