When is surgery indicated in the treatment of secondary lung cancers?

Updated: Feb 16, 2021
  • Author: Daniel S Schwartz, MD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Surgical procedures of choice for the treatment of primary lung cancer tend to be lobectomy or pneumonectomy, depending on the size and the location of the tumor. Surgical decisions are also dictated by the involvement of regional lymph nodes. Meticulous evaluation of preoperative lung function with pulmonary function testing (PFT), possibly pulmonary perfusion scanning, and possibly cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is crucial in the marginal group of patients.

Surgery is also indicated for patients with selected primary extrapulmonary cancers in which the lung is identified as the sole site of metastatic disease and in which alternative therapy alone would not likely be effective, provided that the patient is otherwise able to tolerate the required lung resection. Favorable outcomes have been reported in cases of resection of multiple lung nodules for select tumors.

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