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Stage 1 and 2 Lung Cancer Treatment

About one-third of non-small cell lung cancers are diagnosed at either stage 1 or stage 2, the most treatable stages of the disease.

Cancer in these stages is usually localized to the lungs or in nearby lymph nodes, but has not spread to other parts of the body. Whenever possible, surgical resection of the tumor is recommended as the primary treatment, as this offers the greatest chance of a cure.

Our surgeons are highly regarded as experts in the use of leading-edge minimally invasive surgical techniques and have been able to successfully treat patients deemed “inoperable” by other health facilities.

Surgical treatment options

The goal of lung cancer surgery is to remove the tumor and lymph nodes from the chest as early as possible, before it has spread to other tissues in the chest or throughout the body.

Which type of surgery is recommended depends on your general health, the size of tumor, and the extent of tumor progression within the chest.

We have extensive expertise in the following surgical resection procedures:

  • Lobectomy: The most common procedure for the treatment of lung cancer which involves removal of an entire lobe of the lung
  • Pneumonectomy: Removal of an entire lung, usually performed when a large tumor is found within the central portion of the lung or lobectomy cannot completely remove the tumor
  • Wedge resection/segmentectomy: Removal of a small section of the lung, performed for small tumors or in combination with brachytherapy (radiation) in individuals who cannot tolerate a lobectomy

While nearly 80 percent of lung surgeries in the U.S. are still performed with a large and invasive chest incision (thoracotomy), our surgeons perform virtually every surgery using the minimally invasive video-assisted thoracic surgical (VATS) technique.

VATS involves the use of high-tech cameras and special surgical instruments through a few small incisions in the chest. When undergoing VATS Lobectomy and other minimally invasive lung procedures, our patients may benefit from:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced postoperative pain

Radiation therapy/chemotherapy

Radiation and/or chemotherapy may be recommended after surgical resection in order to slow or stop the growth of remaining cancer cells. These adjuvant therapies are typically reserved for patients who are at a high risk for recurrence.

In some cases of stage 2 lung cancer, in which cancer is suspected to have invaded nearby lymph nodes, chemotherapy may be performed before surgery. The idea behind preoperative chemotherapy is that this can limit the progression of cancer or even shrink the tumor and improve the chances of a successful resection.

Radiation and/or chemotherapy can also be used as the sole form of treatment for patients who are ineligible for surgery. The order and combination of therapies is highly complex and patient-specific. Our experienced surgeons will make sure to go over all treatment options with you at your comprehensive consultation in order to determine the best course of treatment for each patient.

To schedule a consultation with a thoracic surgeon, call 714-456-8000.

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