Surgical intervention for lung cancers

Dr Scott has extensive experience in procedures performed to remove tumours in the chest. In conjunction with your oncologist, Dr Scott will surgically remove tumours from the lungs for several types of small and non-small cell lung cancers.

Why would surgical intervention for lung cancer be needed?

For cancers which are localised and have not yet spread to other parts of the body, surgical intervention has proven an effective treatment for these kinds of lung cancers. Depending on the stage, location and size of a tumour, you may be advised by your oncologist to have Dr Scott surgically remove a tumour. Surgery may be done before or after other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy and may be done as an aggressive eradication of cancer or for palliative reasons to reduce the painful symptoms of cancer.

Lung cancer may also cause the following complications if left untreated; this surgery may be done to aid these issues:

  • Shortness of breath if the tumour grows or obstructs breathing.
  • Coughing up of blood as cancer causes the airway to bleed.
  • Pain when breathing.
  • Fluid in the chest.
  • Issues such as artery obstructions, rhythm irregularities and fluid build-up in the heart may also develop due to lung cancer.

For these reasons, your oncologist may refer you to a cardiothoracic specialist.

How is this procedure done?

Surgery will depend on the type of cancer present. Small cell cancers of the lung such as small cell carcinoma or combined small cells carcinoma, or non-small cell cancers such as large cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma may require different approaches. The following types of surgeries may be considered

  • Lobectomy – each lung has three lobes, the removal of the entire lobe is done during this open surgery.
  • Sleeve lobectomy – the lobe of the lung, as well as part of the airway (bronchus), is removed.
  • Pneumonectomy – due to a large tumour, during open surgery, one side of the lung is removed completely.

Often, during these surgeries, the lymph nodes are removed to prevent the cancer from spreading (metastasising). Whether or not he was able to remove an entire tumour or not, you may need to receive further cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation to destroy the remaining cancer cells.

What can I expect after surgery?

Waking up from lung surgery, you can expect a chest tube to be placed in your chest to allow the air to fill your lungs and drain any blood or fluid that may build up in the lungs. You will be advised by your doctor to do breathing exercises to help expand your lungs and prevent pneumonia. After surgery, you may feel some pain for a few weeks while you recover. Along with your oncologist, Dr Scott will ensure you are comfortable by prescribing some pain killing medication. With any surgery there are risks; however, he aims to aid his patients in managing the pain and discomfort that may occur following lung cancer surgery