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Surgery for lung cancer

The type of surgery you might have depends on where in the lung your cancer is, how big it is, and your general health.

Types of surgery for lung cancer:

  • There are different types of surgery and these are done by specialist lung surgeons. 

Before your operation for lung cancer:

  • Before your operation, you have tests to check your fitness and you meet members of your treatment team.

On the day of lung cancer surgery:

  • You have a general anaesthetic so you can't feel anything during the operation. This sends you into a deep sleep.

After lung cancer surgery:

  • It takes a few weeks for you to recover after your operation. You will be in hospital for about a week and will then need more time to recover once you are home. 

 Problems after lung cancer surgery:

  • There is a risk of problems or complications after any operation. Many problems are minor but some can be life threatening. Treating them as soon as possible is important.


  • Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. You might have it as part of your treatment for lung cancer.

Radiotherapy for lung cancer:

  • Radiotherapy is a common treatment for lung cancer. You usually have external radiotherapy. This means using radiation from a machine to destroy the cancer. 


  • Chemoradiotherapy means having chemotherapy and radiotherapy together. 

Immunotherapy and targeted cancer drugs for non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC):

  • Immunotherapy and targeted drugs are sometimes used to treat stage 3 or 4 NSCLC. 

The aim of Best Supportive Care is to treat any lung related symptoms you may have, because of your diagnosis, with an emphasis on being   comfortable and having a good quality of life.  This may involve some medical treatments to relieve some of your symptoms.

This is called a holistic approach, because it deals with you as a "whole" person, not just your illness or symptoms.

It also involves your emotional wellbeing, social and spiritual care and support for your family or carers.

Best Supportive Care may also be known as comfort care, palliative care or symptom management.