When lung cancer is caught early, surgery, with or without chemotherapy and radiation, can offer the chance for a cure. Surgery is considered primarily for non-small cell lung cancer, since small cell lung cancer has usually spread beyond an area that can be treated with surgery when it is diagnosed. What type of lung cancer surgery your doctor recommends will depend on:
- The location of your tumor
- The size of your tumor
- Whether or not your tumor has spread to nearby tissues
- Your general state of health
- How well your lungs are functioning prior to surgery
Wedge Resection (Segmental Resection)A wedge resection removes the portion of your lung that includes the tumor, and some surrounding tissue. It is most commonly done when a tumor is caught very early, or if surgery that is more extensive would interfere too much with your breathing. The chance that your cancer will return after this type of surgery is somewhat higher than with the other types of surgery.
LobectomyA lobectomy is the removal of a lobe of the lungs. The right lung has 3 lobes and the left lung has 2 lobes. A “bilobectomy” refers the removal of 2 lobes. This is the most common surgical procedure done to treat lung cancer.
PneumonectomyA pneumonectomy involves the removal of an entire lung, and can result in a significant loss of lung function. Despite this, many individuals with good lung function prior to surgery, tolerate living with one lung quite well. A pneumonectomy is considered if a tumor is too large to be removed by the other methods available, or if the tumor is located in a more central location in the lung.
American Cancer Society. Surgery. Detailed Guide: Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell. Updated 12/16/10. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer-non-smallcell/detailedguide/non-small-cell-lung-cancer-treating-surgery