Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung cancer takes place in the cells of the lung when a cancerous (malignant) tumor grows and destroy nearby tissue. Lung cancer treatment is followed by a surgical procedure that removes all or part of a lung which further removes cancerous cells in the tissue. The cells in the lung sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. These changes result into non-cancerous (benign) tumor such as hamartoma and papilloma. But in some cases, changes into lung cells can cause cancer.

Lung cancers are classified into non–small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer based on the type of cell in which cancer started. Your surgeon works to remove the lung cancer and a margin of healthy tissue by the following procedures

  • Lobectomy – removal any part of the lung
  • Wedge resection – When a small section of lung that contains the tumor along with a margin of healthy tissue
  • Pneumonectomy – removal of the entire lung
  • Sleeve resection – removal of a larger portion of the lung, but not an entire lobe

INDICATIONS

Following are some of the most common symptoms that an individual experience:

  • Hoarseness in the voice
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood
  • A cough that won’t quit
  • Breathing changing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Abnormal exhalation

PRE-PROCEDURE

Before the surgery, the surgeon will recommend the following measures that need to be taken before the surgery starts:

  • A Biopsy is performed to determine whether a patient has cancer, and if so, what type it is.
  • The surgeon will recommend some tests to determine the stage of the tumor. These tests usually include blood tests and imaging. The imaging includes computed tomography (CT) scanning of the chest and may include a bone scan or a PET/CT scan.
  • Mediastinoscopy is a process to get a visual of the thoracic cavity which is often done just before surgery To check if cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes between the lungs.
  • Pulmonary function tests are performed to check if the patient will have enough healthy lung tissue left after surgery
  • Other tests are also done to check the function of the heart and other organs

DURING PROCEDURE

Lung Cancer Surgery is usually performed by a team of an experienced surgical oncologist, under general anesthesia. It usually takes about 4 to 5 hours to perform the procedure. A surgeon may operate to remove cancerous lung tissue and tissue in the surrounding areas where cancer may have spread. This sometimes involves removing a lobe or large segment of the lung in a procedure called a lobectomy. In severe cases, the surgeon needs to remove the lung entirely

POST PROCEDURE

Post-lung cancer treatment, the patient is monitored in intensive care (ICU) for a couple of days. After the patient, if shifted out of ICU, the nurses and physiotherapists will get the patient moving about as soon as possible, perform breathing exercises and leg exercises to prevent complications, such as blood clots in the legs or chest infections. Regular chest X-rays are performed to make sure the patient can breathe well. Usually, the patient is ready to go home in about 10 days after the lung removal and 5 to 7 days after the lobectomy.

RISK AND COMPLICATIONS

Lung cancer surgery also involves some risks and complications. Possible risks include

  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Pneumonia
  • Excess bleeding
  • Vocal chord issues
  • Wound infections
  • Breathing problems

MORE INFO

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