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Lung Cancer - Surgery

Lung surgery to remove the cancer may be an option when your cancer is in only one lung or present in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes. It usually is done only if your doctor thinks all the cancer can be removed and your general health is good enough for you to handle the surgery.

Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed to find out whether the cancer has spread.

Surgery choices

The type of surgery performed depends on the location and size of your lung cancer:

  • Wedge resection. The surgeon removes a small wedge-shaped piece of lung that contains the lung cancer and a margin of healthy tissue around the cancer.
  • Lobectomy (say "low-BEK-tuh-mee"). The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. A lobectomy removes the entire lobe of your lung that contains the cancer. Your lungs can function with the lobes that remain.
  • Pneumonectomy (say "new-muh-NEK-tuh-mee"). A pneumonectomy removes your entire lung that contains the lung cancer.
  • Sleeve resection. The surgeon removes part of the bronchus camera.gif, the hollow tube at the end of the trachea (windpipe) that spreads into each lung like a tree.

The side effects from surgery will depend on the type of surgery that you have. There is less pain with surgery that is minimally invasive (VATS) than the traditional surgery (thoracotomy). You may have numbness and tingling in the chest area. This usually goes away in a few weeks or months.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 19, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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