The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Cancer Centre


Surgery is always considered if the lung cancer can be removed in its entirety. The main factors involved when considering if surgery is a suitable treatment option include:

  • whether the cancer can be safely removed;
  • whether someone is fit enough to cope with surgery.

There are three common surgical procedures to remove lung cancer and include:

  • lobectomy – the removal of a lobe or lobes of the lung; 
  • pneumonectomy – the removal of an entire lung;
  • wedge resection – the removal of abnormal tissue from a lobe of the lung.

A common procedure to help control fluid around the lung often involves locating a small drain (indwelling catheter) into the (pleural) space past the chest wall to help release this fluid.

The techniques used to do the above procedures include:

  • Video Assisted Thoracoscopy (VATS) - commonly known as keyhole surgery;
  • Thoracotomy - a cut through the chest wall.

Once the operation has been carried out the area of lung that has been removed is analysed under a microscope and the results of this are then discussed within the Multi-Disciplinary Team. Further treatment is always considered and chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be offered depending on the results. 

All patients who are due to undergo a lung resection attend a Patient Education Programme (PEP) which covers information on admission and discharge information, physiotherapy, pain control, nutrition, treatment after surgery, smoking cessation and additional support services.

Booklets that are available include

Being referred to a thoracic surgeon

Lung resection Surgery

Your home exercise and activity diary - Information for thoracic patients having lung resection surgery

Enhanced Recovery for Lung Surgery.