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