Skip to content

    Lung Cancer Health Center

    Select An Article

    Lung Cancer Surgery

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Surgery

    Surgery is the preferred treatment for patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC. Unfortunately, most patients who have advanced or metastatic disease are not suitable for surgery.

    People who have NSCLC that has not spread can usually tolerate surgery provided they have adequate lung function.

    Recommended Related to Lung Cancer

    Understanding Lung Cancer -- the Basics

    Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. in both men and women, it is also one of the most preventable kinds of cancer. At least four out of five cases are associated with cigarette smoking, and the cause-and-effect relationship has been extensively documented. During the 1920s, large numbers of men began to smoke cigarettes, presumably in response to increased advertising. Twenty years later, the frequency of lung cancer in men climbed sharply. In the 1940s, significantly...

    Read the Understanding Lung Cancer -- the Basics article > >

    A portion of a lobe, a full lobe, or an entire lung may be removed. The extent of removal depends on the size of the tumor, its location, and how far it has spread.

    A technique called cryosurgery is sometimes used for NSCLC. In cryosurgery, the tumor is frozen, which destroys it. This treatment is mainly reserved for patients who can’t tolerate traditional surgery.

    Despite complete surgical removal, a large proportion of patients with early stage cancer have recurrence of cancer.

    Surgery is not widely used in SCLC. Because SCLC spreads widely and rapidly through the body, removing it all by surgery is usually impossible.

    An operation for lung cancer is major surgery. Many people experience pain, weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath after surgery. Most have problems moving around, coughing, and breathing deeply. The recovery period can be several weeks or even months.

    Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a less invasive type of surgery that is used when possible for the treatment of early stage NSCLC. Recovery from this type of surgery is usually quicker than with traditional surgery.

    WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 04, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Xray analysis
    Do you know the myths from the facts?
    chest x-ray
    Get to know them.
     
    woman taking pills
    Tips to managing them.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    Lung Cancer Risks Myths and Facts
    SLIDESHOW
    Woman getting ct scan
    Article
     
    Improving Lung Cancer Survival Targeted Therapy
    VIDEO
    cancer fighting foods
    Article
     
    Lung Cancer Surprising Differences Between Sexes
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Lung Cancer Surgery Options
    VIDEO