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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

cancer cells.

Surgery types

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

your lung.

Surgery methods

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.

Before surgery

You will be asked to stop eating, drinking, and

taking some medicines for a short period of time.

Figure 6

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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