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To find out whether your lungs are healthy enough for surgery, your doctor may give you several tests (e.g., pulmonary function tests and a quantitative ventilation/perfusion scan). Surgical removal of the tumor is a common choice when the cancer has not spread to other tissues in the chest or beyond.
The following types of surgery are used to treat lung cancer:
Surgery may be the first type of treatment used, or it may be used after chemotherapy, radiation or both have been administered to shrink the tumor.
Generally, surgery is not used as first-line treatment if the lung cancer has:
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs may be recommended, both before and after surgery—especially for people who do not have a regular exercise program. Sometimes bronchodilators, like those used to treat asthma, can also help improve breathing function enough for surgery.
For patients with poor lung function who cannot tolerate major surgery, a new technique called video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) may be helpful.
Other surgical techniques being investigated include nerve-sparing surgery and computer-enhanced imaging tools.
For more information about our Thoracic Oncology Program, please call 1-(800) 441-0110.
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