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When do you need surgery for lung cancer?

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The decision to perform surgery is based not only on the type of lung cancer you have and how far it has spread, but also on your overall health, especially the function of your lungs. Many patients with lung cancer -- especially smokers -- have existing lung or heart problems that make surgery difficult. Cancer that has spread to lymph nodes between the lungs was once considered inoperable, but combining surgery with chemotherapy afterwards has improved survival rates.

When feasible, the preferred treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer is surgery. During the operation, the surgeon removes the tumor along with surrounding lung tissue and lymph nodes. Sometimes, the entire lung must be taken out. After surgery, you'll stay in the hospital for several days.

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

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When do you need radiation therapy for lung cancer?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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