Cancer Treatment Centers of America

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Surgery for lung cancer

surgical oncology

What is surgery?

Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and to manage certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery or not depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other coexisting medical conditions the patient may have.

For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These nonsurgical treatments may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage anticipated side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function when needed, at the time of surgery or following surgery.

Surgical oncology

Video: Surgical Oncology

Surgical Oncology

Lung cancer surgeries

Surgery for lung cancer

Lung surgery, or thoracotomy, is a procedure where the surgeon opens up the chest cavity to gain access to the lungs. An incision is made in the side of the chest and the ribs are spread apart, so your surgeon can remove cancerous tissue from the lungs.

There are four types of lung cancer surgery used at CTCA:

  • Wedge resection and segmentectomy: Removal of cancerous tissue from the lung. In cases where more tissue is removed, the thoracotomy procedure is called a segmentectomy.
  • Lobectomy: Removal of an entire lobe from the lung. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two.
  • Pneumonectomy: Removal of an entire lung.
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): VATS is a minimally invasive technology that our cancer doctors use to perform a lobectomy or wedge resection without opening up the chest. This thoracotomy procedure involves inserting a long, thin tube with an attached camera (thorascope) and small surgical instruments into the chest. Using images from the camera, the surgeon removes cancerous tissues. If you are a candidate for VATS, it offers a quicker recovery time and less pain than other types of lung surgery because no large incision or movement of the ribs is needed. VATS may also be used to biopsy lung tissues and confirm a lung cancer diagnosis, called a thoracoscopy.
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