Debra Wood, RN
If lung cancer is localized and has not spread beyond the original site, surgical removal of the cancer is the most common treatment. The goal is to remove as much of the cancer as possible while preserving as much lung function as possible. It may also be done chemo- and/or radiation therapy to shrink the tumor before surgery or to try to kill off any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Surgical removal is not always an option since most lung cancers are found in advanced stages. In this case, surgery may be done as palliative care to improve the lung function.
For non-small cell lung cancer, stage 0 (carcinoma in situ) shows abnormal cell structures that are a precursor to cancer. Surgery for Stage 0 and other early stages of lung cancer offer the best chance for a cure. This would apply to those who have small cell lung cancer in the limited stage.
A thoracotomy is a surgical method for opening the chest wall in order to access the lungs.An incision is made along the back in a C-shaped manner, and the chest wall is opened. This give access to the lungs and other structures, including lymph nodes, which can be removed during a procedure.
Options for lung cancer surgery include:
A number of minor procedures can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. As cancer grows, it affects the body's ability to function properly. In the case of lung cancer, tumors cause problems that can can interfere with breathing. Procedures may include:
Lung cancer (non-small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003115-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Lung cancer (small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003116-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 25, 2016. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Radiation therapy. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/diagnosing-and-treating/radiation-therapy.html. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 15, 2015. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Treatment options by stage. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/non-small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq#link/_212_toc. Updated July 8, 2016. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Treatment options by stage. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq#section/_112. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
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