Surgery is the preferred treatment for patients with early stage NSCLC. Unfortunately, 60-80% of all patients who have advanced or metastatic disease are not suitable for surgery.

  • People who have Non-small Cell Lung Cancer that has not spread can tolerate surgery provided they have adequate lung function.
  • A portion of a lobe, a full lobe, or an entire lung may be removed. The extent of removal depends on the size of the tumor, its location, and how far it has spread.
  • A technique called cryosurgery is sometimes used for Non-small Cell Lung Cancer. In cryosurgery, the tumor is frozen, which destroys it. This treatment is mainly for relief of fatigue.
  • Cure rates for small peripheral cancers are around 80%.
  • Despite complete surgical removal, a large proportion of patients with early stage cancer have recurrence of cancer and die from it.

Surgery is not widely used in Small Cell Lung Cancer. Because Small Cell Lung Cancer spreads widely and rapidly through the body, removing it all by surgery is usually impossible.

An operation for lung cancer is major surgery. Many people experience pain, weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath after surgery. Most have problems moving around, coughing, and breathing deeply. The recovery period can be several weeks or even months.