Cancer Care Network

Lung Cancer Surgery | Thoracic Surgery

Lung cancer treatment often involves surgery. Lung cancer surgery means that your doctor will cut out a portion of the lung that contains cancerous tissue.

What is lung cancer surgery?

Lung cancer involves removing the lung cancer plus some healthy tissue around it. Removing lung cancer can involve a small section, larger portion, an entire lobe, or an entire lung.

Different Types of Lung Cancer Surgery

In addition to traditional surgery, lung cancer surgery may be:

  • VATS: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, which is less invasive. VATS is done with cancer in early stage. A tiny cut is made and a tube with a tiny camera is inserted so your surgeon can see inside your chest. Other small cuts are made to allow for instruments to be passed through to perform the operation.
  • Robotic surgery, which allows for smaller cuts and the precision of robotic instruments.

Before Surgery: How to Get Ready

  • If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Smoking will impact your ability to recover.
  • Find out about exercise and activity post-surgery. Exercise can help you get well quicker.
  • Have a plan for someone to help you at home as you recover, with meals and chores.
  • Breathing exercises and rehab can help with your recovery. Talk to your doctor ahead of time.

Post-Surgery: What to Expect

Recovery can take weeks or one or two months. Patients should expect to limit their activities at first but usually can return to normal activities if there are no other underlying conditions.

Bonnie's Lung Cancer Survivor Story

Having care close to home was important for Bonnie. "I had all my care within a few miles from my home. Excellent care."