Treatment of Lung Cancer



In keyhole surgery, which can be done in cases of very small, early, non-small cell lung cancers, the surgeon makes one or a number of small cuts on the side of the chest. A laparoscope—a thin, long, flexible tube connected to a fibre optic camera—shows the surgeon the inside of the chest. He then performs the cancer removal through the other incisions.

Types of surgery

Removing of lobe

I. Lobectomy1

The lungs are divided into sections called lobes. There are 2 lobes in the left lung and 3 in the right lung.

Lobectomy means removing one lobe of the lung. Your surgeon will recommend this type of operation if the cancer is just in one part of one lung. It is the most common type of operation for lung cancer.

II. Bilobectomy (or the removal of two lobes)1

This is a surgery to remove two lobes of the lung.

Removing the whole lung

I. Pneumonectomy1

The operation to remove the whole lung is called a pneumonectomy (new-mon-ek-tom-ee). Your specialist will recommend this operation if the cancer is in the central area of the lung and involves either the 2 lobes in the left lung or the 3 lobes in the right lung.

Removing a section of lung

I. Wedge resection2

A wedge resection removes a wedge-shaped area of the lung that includes part of one or more lobes.

II. Segmentectomy1,2,3

A segmentectomy removes areas of the lung along with their veins, arteries and airways.

III. Sleeve resection1,2,3

You might have an operation called a sleeve resection if your cancer is in the central area of the lung and growing into one of your main airways (bronchi). Your surgeon removes the affected section of the airway and any surrounding cancer in the lobe. This operation is not as common as other types of lung cancer surgery.

Removing Lymph Nodes

I. Lymphadenectomy2,3

During your operation the surgeon examines the lung and surrounding area. They take out some of the nearby lymph nodes in case they contain cancer cells that have spread from the main cancer. This is called lymphadenectomy. The number of lymph nodes your surgeon removes varies. If the lymph nodes contain cancer cells your doctor usually recommends that you have chemotherapy after your surgery.

1 American Cancer Society. Treatment Choices for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, by Stage. Retrieved on October 2020 from
2 Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell: Types of Treatment. Retrieved on October 2020 from
3 Cancer Research UK – Types of surgery. Retrieved on 18 Feb 2021 from