Lung Cancer Surgery

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Lung cancer surgery is rarely possible with small cell lung cancer; this cancer is so aggressive that it is usually in the extensive phase by the time it is diagnosed. In fact, this type of lung cancer only has two phases, rather than the four stages used to classify non small cell lung cancer. Surgery would be the first choice for standard treatment for the limited phase of small cell.

The preferred orthodox treatment for stages I and II of non small cell lung cancer is surgery, since this is the best hope for a cure. Before the operation to remove part or all of a lung, tests will be ordered to ensure the patient's ability to endure the operation and to test lung functioning and capacity. Lung cancer surgery is only performed if the surgeon thinks all the tumor can be removed.

When Lung Cancer Surgery Is Not Feasible

Lung cancer prognosis is rarely great, but in the early stages, at least, surgery offers the best hope that conventional treatment has to offer. There are several kinds of operations and techniques used, depending on the size and location of the cancerous cells. A wedge can be removed if the tumor is small, or the diseased segment of the lung can be removed.

The most common procedure, however, is a lobectomy, in which the whole lobe of the involved lung is removed. Finally, the entire lung can be removed if this is the only way to remove the tumor completely. When later stages are judged to be inoperable lung cancer, radiation and/or chemotherapy are used instead of lung cancer surgery, with radiation used in stage III of non small lung cancer, and chemotherapy used when the cancer has spread from the lungs.

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