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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Non-small cell lung cancer
My dad was recently diagnosed with Stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer. I read online about two treatment options: a lobectomy and video-assisted thoracic surgery. Can you tell me the difference between these treatments? The internet was unclear to me. Thank you.
The standard operation for Stage 1 lung cancer is a lobectomy which is the removal of about 1/2 of one lung. The traditional way of doing a lobectomy is by making a 10 - 12 inch incision on the side and spreading the ribs. A video-assisted lobectomy is the same operation; however, it is done using several very small incisions without spreading this ribs.
The advantage of the video-assisted technique is less pain, shorter hospital stay and faster return to normal function. Not every patient is a candidate for the video-assisted lobectomy - it depends on where the cancer is located and on the patient's anatomy. Additionally, not all thoracic surgeons in the country have the expertise to perform the video-assisted technique. This is something that you should talk to your surgeon about.
Sandra L Starnes, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati