What Do I Need to Know About Lung Cancer Surgery?

If you are considering lung cancer surgery, you undoubtedly have many questions. The multispecialty team in the Thoracic Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center encourages you to ask away. After all, knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health. We understand that you may feel a bit vulnerable and uncertain at this point in your cancer journey as you continue to adjust – both mentally and emotionally – to the news of your diagnosis. We can tell you everything you need to know to help you feel confident and secure in your treatment decisions.

Lung cancer surgery may be recommended for you if your cancer is limited to one lung, your surgeon believes that all of the cancer can be surgically removed and you are healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure. In general, surgery is the most effective treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.

Types of lung cancer surgery

Depending on the location, size and type of your tumor, part or all of the affected lung may be surgically removed. The various types of lung cancer surgery include:

  • Wedge resection – Your surgeon will remove a wedge-shaped section of lung tissue that contains the tumor. This procedure may be suitable for you if your surgeon determines that your lung function would be significantly impacted if a larger portion of lung tissue were to be removed.
  • Segmentectomy – Your surgeon will remove a segment of cancerous lung tissue that is larger than a wedge, but smaller than an entire lobe. If you have a health condition that would preclude a safe lobectomy, a segmentectomy may be an appropriate option to preserve your lung function.
  • Lobectomy – Your surgeon will remove an entire lobe of the affected lung, along with some of the nearby lymph nodes. By eliminating the entire drainage path for tumor cells, this procedure can also help reduce the chance of a recurrence.
  • Pneumonectomy – Your surgeon will remove your entire cancerous lung. This approach may be necessary if the tumor is situated close to your heart and involves major blood vessels.

When performing lung cancer surgery, a surgeon may use one of two main techniques: a traditional (open) approach or a minimally invasive approach. As modern medicine continues to advance, many patients are benefiting from minimally invasive surgical procedures that did not exist just a few decades ago. One of the latest advances is the da Vinci® Surgical System, which Moffitt’s surgeons use to achieve unprecedented levels of surgical precision and control.

If you have any questions about lung cancer surgery, you are encouraged to call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.