What Are the Risks of Lung Cancer Surgery?

Lung cancer surgery may involve the removal of a small or large portion of a lung, an entire lobe or an entire lung, depending on the characteristics and extent of the cancer. Therefore, the risks of surgery can be influenced by many variables, including the type of procedure performed, the surgical techniques used and other individual factors. In any case, the goal is to remove as much of the cancer as possible.

Before deciding to proceed with lung cancer surgery, it is important for a patient to gain a full understanding of the recommended procedure as well as the recovery period that will follow. This process is best guided by a trusted surgeon who can provide individualized advice and guidance. After taking into account the type, location and extent of the cancer, as well as the patient’s existing lung function and overall health, a surgeon can confirm that the patient is a good candidate for surgery and, if so, explain the risks and benefits of the proposed procedure.

The possible risks of surgery

In general, some of the potential risks of lung cancer surgery may include:

  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • An air leak in a lung
  • Damage to a lung, blood vessel, nerve or the heart

Many patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer entrust their surgical treatment to the surgeons in the Thoracic Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, where every patient benefits from an individualized treatment plan that is developed collaboratively by multiple experts. At Moffitt, each procedure is performed by experienced surgeons who are skilled in utilizing the latest surgical innovations, including minimally invasive and robot-assisted techniques. For these reasons and others, our outcomes consistently exceed the national averages and our patients achieve a better quality of life.

If you’re considering lung cancer surgery and would like to discuss the potential risks with a thoracic oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online. We accept patients with and without referrals.