Lung Cancer Surgery

Treatments of small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer are different. Surgery is mainly applied for non-small cell lung cancer. Furthermore, surgery/chemotherapy/ radiotherapy, their double or triple combinations can be applied depending on the stage of the disease.

If the diseases in early stages and if the patient is appropriate for surgery, surgery is the most EFFECTIVE treatment of lung cancers. Especially patient groups in early stages of lung cancer have highest chance of living when cancerous tissue is removed by surgery. Therefore, patients recommended with surgery should utilize this chance, since there is very low possibility to obtain same results with other treatments.

Treatment to be used in lung cancers is decided by “Lung Cancer Council”. The council consists of specialists from Chest Diseases, Chest surgery, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, Radiology and Pathology.

In surgical treatment, cancerous tissue is removed by thoracoscopic surgery called classic “thoracotomy” (open surgery) or closed surgery. This surgery can be performed on an individual lung (lobectomy) or the whole lung (pneumonectomy) depending on the expansion of cancer. The amount of lung to be removed is planned prior to the surgery. When a part of lung is removed, the remaining lung tissue should be sufficient for the patient. Therefore, patient’s lung and heart functions are elaborately assessed prior to the surgery. If the general condition, age and organ functions of the patient are not fit for surgery, surgery cannot be performed even if the cancerous tissue is technically removable.

On the other hand, even if the cancerous tissue detected in the first assessment is surgically irremovable, cancerous tissue can be reduced to an operable size with certain doses of (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. A detailed and meticulous investigation should be made before saying “you cannot have surgery” to a patient.