SurgerySurgery is an option for some patients depending on the type and stage of their lung cancer. Surgery can remove the tumor along with the diseased part of the lung. Removing the tumor with surgery is the most common option when the cancer has not spread.

Surgery may be the first step in lung cancer treatment or used after other treatments. The following surgical procedures are used to treat lung cancer:

Surgical Prodedures

Wedge ResectionWedge Resection
A wedge resection is the removal of a small, wedge-shaped part of the lung tissue surrounding the cancerous tumor.

Lobectomy is the removal (resection) of the lobe (section) of the lung affected by lung cancer. This is the most common surgery performed for lung cancer. A bilobectomy is the removal of two lobes in the same lung. The right lung is divided into three lobes; the left lung has two lobes.

Pneumonectomy is the removal of the entire lung affected by cancer. This procedure is usually done if the cancer cannot be fully removed with the lobectomy, if there is concern that cancer may have spread throughout the left or right lung or if the lesion is centrally located.

A surgery called a sleeve resection is also sometimes done. A sleeve resection starts with the removal of tumors. These tumors can be in the main airway (bronchusEither of the two major branches of the tracheas (windpipe) that lead to the lungs. The trachea divides to form the right and left main bronchi (pleural of bronchus) or bronchial tubes, that travel to each of the lungs.), part of the pulmonary artery (artery to the lung) or the lobe. The ends of the bronchus are rejoined and any remaining lobes are reattached to the bronchus.

Surgical procedures can be performed using a thoracotomyAn incision is made across the side of the chest. The ribs are spread apart so the surgeon can access the lung..

  • Thoracotomy: An incision is made across the side of the chest. The ribs are spread apart so the surgeon can access the lung.

Surgeons can sometimes use VATS (Video Assisted Thoracoscopy)A new type of surgery that allows doctors to make very small incisions to view the inside of the chest cavity and remove tumors to test them for cancer. to perform certain procedures.

  • VATS: VATS uses a small video camera to guide the surgeon. VATS requires a smaller incision than a thoracotomy, which makes recovery faster.

There are pros and cons to both types of surgery and possible side effects and complications from each. You should discuss all of your options with your doctor to decide which is the best option.

Each type of treatment option has possible side effects. It is important to know what these may be and how to cope with side effects before beginning treatment.

Possible Side Effects
• Pain
• Possible complications from surgery
» Learn how to cope with side effects

Discuss concerns, possible side effects and any effects that you experience with your doctor.

To get started, use this list of suggested questions.

Early detection of lung cancer can increase survival rates. Call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA or talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening.

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