Surgical removal of a tumour offers the best chance of a cure for patients who have early-stage cancer. The surgeon, with the Multidisciplinary Care Team, will determine if the cancer is only in your lung, assess your general wellbeing and fitness for an operation and will discuss with you what the surgery involves.

How you recover from lung surgery will depend on many factors. However, there are two things you can do to help your recovery from surgery:

  • Increase your physical activity (walking short distances) before the surgery if you can.
  • Current smokers should stop smoking for a minimum of four weeks before any surgery is performed.

When planning for your hospital stay, consider the following:

  • How you'll get to hospital and home from hospital.
  • Arrange to have someone at home with you for at least two or three days after you leave hospital. They can help with shopping, laundry and housework.
  • Request medical certificates from your doctor, if needed.

There are a number of things the surgeon and anaesthetist need to know about you before surgery. A few days before surgery you will be asked to go to the hospital for an appointment. At this appointment the following things will be asked:

  • If you have had problems with a general anaesthetic before.
  • If you have diabetes. Make sure you tell your doctor. Your blood sugar levels will need to be checked during your stay in hospital.
  • What medications you are taking (name, dose and time of day that they are taken).

You will be told what day and time you need to stop eating or drinking before surgery.

Types of lung surgery

There are several types of lung surgery.

Lobectomy: a lobe of the lung is removed.

Lobectomy: a lobe of the lung is removed.

Pneumonectomy: one whole lung is removed.

Pneumonectomy: one whole lung is removed.

Wedge resection: only part of the lung, not a lobe, is removed.

Wedge resection: only part of the lung, not a lobe, is removed.