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Lung cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers. The most common cause of lung cancer SMOKING!

Early diagnosis is very important. Quitting smoking immediately and not being exposed to secondhand smoke as soon as diagnosis is essential.

Before starting the treatment process, it is crucial that the cancer is diagnosed correctly and determined which stage it is in. The complaints of the patient must be compiled in a detailed way.

Diagnostic tests:

  • Lung Graphs
  • CT (Lung Tomography)
  • PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography)
  • Head MRI
  • If necessary, bone scintigraphy
  • Pulmonary Function Testing
  • Bronchoscopy, FNAB (Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy), Mediastinoscopy, etc.

Stages of Lung Cancer

Stages of the Disease:

  • Stage 1A, B – Early stage
  • Stage 2A, B – Tumor is bigger (It can still be operated on).
  • Stage 3A – Tumor is bigger, cancer has spread to lymph nodes. (If necessary chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be used prior to surgery)
  • Stage 3B – Tumor is bigger, cancer has spread to lymph nodes and/or surrounding organs (Surgery is considered only after chemoradiotherapy).
  • Stage 4 – Late stage cancer. Cancer has spread to distant organs (Only chemoradiotherapy and/or immunotherapy).

Lobectomy - Erkan Yildirim, MD. Chest and Lung Surgeon

Surgical Options for Lung Cancer

Depending on the location, size and histopathologic cell type of lung cancer, there are different surgical options;

  • Removing part of the lung
  • Wedge resection
  • Segmentectomy
  • Lobectomy or removing the entire lung
  • Pneumonectomy (removing the entire lung)

It is essential that mediastinal lymph nodes are removed in ALL of the surgical methods mentioned above.

Duration of the surgery:

  • Generally surgeries in which a smaller part of the lung is removed (wedge resection and segmentectomy) take shorter (2 – 3 hours)
  • Surgeries in which a larger part of the lung is removed (lobectomy and pneumonectomy) take longer (4 – 5 hours). It is important to note that duration of the surgery varies from patient to patient.

Surgical Procedure:

Lung Cancer Surgery - Erkan Yildirim MD

The patient is given general anesthesia and lays on the surgical table sideways with the lung that will be operated on above the other. In endoscopic surgery (video assisted minimally invasive surgery) the operation is performed through a 4 – 5 centimeter incision. This is called a uniportal VATS closed surgery.

The part being removed is separated first from the veins and arteries and then from the bronchi with the staplers

After this step, cancerous tissue is removed and the operation finalized. Closed surgery has advantages over open surgery.

  • Recovery is shorter and less painful
  • Patient starts to walk on the day or the following day of surgery
  • Patient starts to eat liquid and soft foods
  • Patient is discharged within a week

After the Surgery:

  • Pain in the surgery area is common and requires attention. Pain is soothed with painkillers.
  • The patient is prescribed painkillers and antibiotics for the 7 – 10 days following the surgery.
  • Patients usually get back to their normal life within 2 weeks.
  • It is imperative that the patient takes 30 – 45 minute walks daily after the surgery.
  • Pathology results come out in about 1 week.
  • It is essential that the pathology results are interpreted by a medical oncologist.

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