Lung cancer surgery can offer a cure when the disease is diagnosed in early stages; patients with more advanced lung cancer may also need other types of treatment, possibly including chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.
If your doctor suspects you might have lung cancer—or if you have a lung cancer screening because you are at high risk for the disease—you’ll have a chest X-ray or CT scan to look for nodules (abnormalities) on your lung. A lung nodule is typically small, round, and more solid than the normal lung tissue that surrounds it. Some nodules are benign (harmless inflammation), some are the result of an infection that has healed, and some are malignant.
If your lung nodule is malignant, it means you have lung cancer. Lung cancer cells have the ability to invade surrounding tissue and spread through lymph nodes. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, surgery is one possible treatment option. Lung cancer surgery involves removal of a part of the lung, along with nearby lymph nodes.
“At Yale Medicine’s Thoracic Surgery Program, we perform a majority (over 85 percent) of lung cancer surgeries using minimally invasive techniques such as robotic surgery or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), resulting in shorter hospital stays, decreased pain, and faster recovery,” says Yale Medicine’s Andrew Dhanasopon, MD, a thoracic surgeon.