Surgery is mostly used to treat non- small cell lung cancers which have not spread, but can also be used to treat very early stage small cell lung cancers. Prior to surgery, your fitness to cope with the operation and whether it is technically possible to remove the tumour without damaging other structures within the chest such as the heart and blood vessels will be considered.
The most common surgical procedure is a lobectomy. This is the removal of one lobe of the lung, the remaining lung will expand to fill the space. Surrounding glands will be removed at the same time to check for spread of the cancer. If your cancer is very small, a small area of the lung can be removed in an operation called a wedge resection or segmentectomy. This is where part of a lobe is taken away.
When the cancer is in a more central position, or affecting more than one lobe, the whole lung on the affected side may need to be removed, this is called a pneumonectomy. Many people are concerned they will be short of breath after a pneumonectomy, but you can breathe normally with just one lung.