NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Lung Cancer Screening, Version 1.2017
How can you know for sure?
Surgery removes the nodule as well as a rim of
tissue around the nodule. The rim of tissue around
the nodule is called the surgical margin. The whole
nodule and the surgical margin will be examined for
There is more than one type of surgery for lung
See Figure 6
. Often, a small part of a
lobe will be removed to test for cancer. This surgery
is called a wedge resection. If cancer is found,
then a larger part of the lung may be removed. A
segmentectomy removes a large part of a lobe,
whereas a lobectomy removes the whole lobe.
A lung on the right side of the body has three
lobes. The left-sided lung has two lobes. Removing
one lobe typically reduces lung capacity by
20% to 25%. For example, if before surgery your
lungs were able to take in 6 liters of air, then after
removing one lobe your lungs would take in 4.5 to
4.8 liters. Thus, your surgeon will likely test your lung
capacity to make sure that it is safe to remove part of
Surgery may be done with one of two methods. The
classic method is thoracotomy. VATS (
urgery) is a newer method. VATS is often
preferred for a small nodule, but a thoracotomy is
sometimes preferred because of nodule size, nodule
location, or other reasons.
You will be asked to stop eating, drinking, and
taking some medicines for a short period of time.
Lung tumor surgeries
In the far left column, a small piece
of the lobe was removed by a
surgery called a wedge resection.
In the middle column, the results
of a segmentectomy are shown.
A lobe of lung was removed in the
right column by a surgery called a
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