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Do you need to have surgery if you have lung cancer? What post-operative consequences can you face? Tens of thousands of patients try to find answers to these and many other questions on forums and blogs. However, this information is often inaccurate, and some questions remain unanswered at all. We’ve decided to gather all the important information in one place and give honest answers to the important questions about lung cancer surgery.



Features of lung cancer surgery

types of lung cancer surgery

Most often, lung surgeries are required for non-small cell cancer. Most operations are performed at stages 1 and 2 of the disease if the process does not affect other organs and the tumour itself is small. In contrast, surgery for small cell lung cancer is rarely used as the main treatment method. This is because this type of tumour is more aggressive, and surgery is often no longer possible.


Surgeries for lung cancer are divided into 4 main types:

    иконка галочки wedge resection – removes the tumour together with a small margin of healthy tissue;  

    иконка галочки segmental resection – removal of a bigger segment of lung together with the tumour;  

    иконка галочки lobectomy – a lobe of the lung is removed with the tumour;  

    иконка галочки pneumonectomy – the lung is completely removed.  

In most cases, regional lymph nodes are removed together with a lung fraction to clarify the absence or presence of metastases using their subsequent histological analysis.

The choice of one type of surgery over the other depends on the size and localisation of the neoplasm.

It is also possible to remove a small part of an organ – wedge resection. Such intervention is used if the tumour is small with a clear localisation and the patient has serious comorbidities.


Full lung removal surgery is performed if it is difficult to locate the tumour or if the tumour is very large. There are specific indications for such an operation and it is only prescribed if the patient’s respiratory organs are working well enough to withstand later on.

lung cancer treatment

In the 4th stage of lung cancer, surgery can no longer be performed. From stage 3B onwards, conservative treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used for this disease.

For many people, it is also important to know how long the operation lasts and how it goes. Lung lobes can be resected through small incisions in the chest, where tools and a camera for navigation are inserted. After the intervention, the incisions are stitched up or closed with a staple, and drain tubes are in the chest. The full lung removal procedure is complex and can take up to 5 hours. Surgical intervention involves opening the chest cavity. Both operations are performed under general anaesthesia.


The postoperative period after lung cancer surgery

    After the lung cancer surgery, the patient has to stay on an IV and with drainage tubes for about 2-7 days.


    To relieve the pain, the doctors prescribe drugs. The length of rehabilitation after the surgery differs in each case.

    Some patients recover more quickly, some slower – everything depends on their general health and their body’s abilities. It is possible to speed up recovery through special exercises. The patient needs to start moving sometime after the surgery. A physiotherapist works with each patient, teaching breathing exercises and helping them get back to normal.

What treatment is prescribed after lung cancer surgery?

Lung surgery is associated with complications such as bleeding and infections. However, this can easily be avoided by entrusting your health to an experienced doctor and clinic with the right conditions. One of the complications after surgical treatment is relapse. Sometimes after surgery, additional treatment for lung cancer may be necessary to reduce the risk of disease recurrence.


In lung cancer, chemotherapy is often prescribed after surgery. Postoperative chemotherapy aims to destroy cancer cells that may have remained in the patient’s body.

What are the predictions after lung cancer surgery?

    иконка галочки If the patient has non-small cell lung cancer at an early stage, the prognosis will be quite favourable. Surgical treatment combined with other therapies in stages 1-2 of the disease yield positive results (5-year survival rate) in 70-90% and 53-60% of cases respectively. This means that people live at least 5 years after surgery for lung cancer, and some live 10-15 years or more.  

    иконка галочки Giving an unambiguous answer to the question of how long you can live with lung cancer without surgery is very difficult because it depends on the type and stage of the disease. With non-small cell cancer in the 3B-4A stages, 26% and 10% of people surpass the five-year limit respectively. But this is subject to the application of other treatment methods.  

    иконка галочки Small cell lung cancer responds well to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, the percentage of five-year survival in this type of oncology does not exceed 31% even in the early stages and with other treatments.  

How much does surgery cost for lung cancer and in which clinics does it take place?

операция лечение рака легких

Prices for lung cancer surgery abroad are calculated on an individual basis and depend on many factors, including the severity of the disease and the qualification of the surgeon. The lowest prices are found in clinics in Turkey (Liv, Koç and Memorial), South Korea (SoonChunHyang and Anam) and Lithuania (Cardiolita).


Treatment of lung cancer at European clinics (Rechts der Isar, Asklepios, Quironsalud Hospitals Group, Motol Clinic) will be a little more expensive. However, this does not affect their popularity among international patients. For example, Quironsalud Hospitals Group’s medical centres operate Spain’s leading cancer centres, which offer their patients the opportunity to treat cancer using innovative technologies and the latest developments in the field of oncology. These include the Cancer Treatment Centre of the Quiron Teknon Clinic, which operates a radiation therapy centre equipped with next-generation linear accelerators.


The leading oncologists and onco-surgeons of Europe practice at the Quironsalud Clinics:

    Dr Antonio Brugaloras Maslorens – more than 40 years of experience;


    Professor Giuseppe Tebnero – more than 30 years of experience;

    Dr Rafael Rossel – one of the best specialists in the world, according to the oldest and most prestigious medical publication – Lancet.

Lung cancer surgery testimonial

флаг германии Clinic: Ludwig-Maximilian University Hospital of Munich
lung cancer treatment Which procedure: Removal of lung tumour

lung cancer treatment Patient’s age: 45 years
lung cancer treatment Patient from: Kyiv

Elena: “In September 2017, my brother went to Germany with suspicion of cancer. At the Ludwig-Maximilian Clinic, the diagnosis was confirmed. The affected lung and lymph nodes were removed without delay. Fortunately, no metastases were detected. Even before we went to the clinic, we have read reviews of how difficult it was to recover from lung cancer surgery. However, the hospital has created all the conditions to facilitate recovery as much as possible. A psychologist and physiotherapist worked with us, and the first time we had pain-relief therapy. My brother recovered quickly enough and all the horrors of the disease were behind us!”



    иконка галочкиLung surgeries are required for non-small cell cancer. Surgery for small cell lung cancer is rarely used as the main treatment method, because this type of tumour is more aggressive, and surgery is often no longer possible. 

    иконка галочкиThere are four main types of lung cancer surgery: wedge resection, segmental resection, lobectomy and pneumonectomy. The type of surgery is selected based on the stage of the cancer.  

    иконка галочкиAfter the surgery, the patient may still need to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  

    иконка галочкиAfter the lung cancer surgery, the patient has to stay on an IV and with drainage tubes for about 2-7 days. Afterwards, they need to undergo rehabilitation, which includes work with a physiotherapist.  

    иконка галочкиSurgical treatment combined with other therapies in stages 1-2 of lung cancer yield positive results in 70-90% and 53-60% of cases respectively.  


For more information on lung cancer treatment abroad, the cost of oncology, leading oncologists and clinics that provide their services to foreign patients, ask the Mediglobus international medical platform coordinators. Leave your message on the website, our specialists will contact you and give you free advice.

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