Early-stage non-small cell lung cancer treatment: curative surgical interventions

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Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for over 85% of all lung carcinoma cases. Patients at stages I, II, and IIIA typically undergo surgical interventions with the subsequent postoperative medicamentous support. Doctors target lung neoplasms with a wide variety of medications and procedures, therefore candidates for the curative surgery are carefully selected after the visualizing and histological diagnosis.

Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for over 85% of all lung carcinoma cases. Patients at stages I, II, and IIIA typically undergo surgical interventions with the subsequent postoperative medicamentous support. Doctors target lung neoplasms with a wide variety of medications and procedures, therefore candidates for the curative surgery are carefully selected after the visualizing and histological diagnosis. The intervention is aimed at complete tumor removal with minimal damage to blood vessels and surrounding tissues.

Diagnostic procedures and surgery planning

At the beginning stages NSCLC does not cause any symptoms. Thus, the only possibility of early disease revealing is undergoing regular check-up, namely, fluorography. Fluorography is an X-ray procedure that provides doctor with general picture of lungs and bones of the chest. In presence of suspicious signs or clinical manifestations, further examination is carried out:

  • Sputum cytology is performed when patient has productive cough. Atypical cells can sometimes be found in the sputum, although sensitivity of this test is relatively low.
  • Biopsy with histological and immunohistochemical examination. The tissue sample may be harvested during bronchoscopy (if the neoplasm is located superficially) or CT-guided procedure. In certain cases open surgery is required. Biopsy confirms the diagnosis, reveals tumor type and degree of its malignancy.
  • Visualizing techniques – CT scan, MRI, PET and bone scans – are helpful in looking for evidence of cancer spreading to the neighboring organs and/or lymph nodes. Distant (bone) metastases can also be detected.

Patients with I, II, and IIIA oncology stages without metastases and severe comorbidities are eligible for surgical tumor removing.

Surgery: removing the root cause of the disease

Depending on the surgery extent, four types of the procedure are distinguished:

  • Wedge resection is removing of a small, wedge-shaped lung fragment. It is suitable for removing lung nodules or metastases. It will also be beneficial for patients who cannot tolerate more extensive procedure.
  • Segmental resection is removing of the whole lung segment. Bronchopulmonary segment is a part of the lung that has own bronchus and artery.
  • Lobectomy is removing an entire lobe, which is up to half of a lung.
  • Pneumonectomy is an entire lung removing.

In addition to conventional open surgeries few more techniques are mainly used in the leading European clinics:

  1. Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive technique for wedge resection, segmental resection or lobectomy performing. Specially designed small surgical instruments and camera are inserted in the thoracic cavity through 2-3 cm long incisions. Thus, the chest is not opened, which offers less pain and quicker recovery time compared to the conventional surgery.
  2. Robotic-assisted thoracic surgery is one more minimally invasive approach that involves using the computer (typically this is da Vinci system) for controlling surgical instruments inside the thorax. More precise movements are made and better hemostatic control is achieved. Thus, in addition to VATS benefits robotic-assisted interventions are characterized by low complications risks. Both procedures can be performed in elderly patients with poor general health state.

Informed hospital choosing with Booking Health

You may decide not to undergo lung cancer treatment in your native country for medical, financial or private reasons. If you are seeking medical services abroad but do not have previous international experience, it is safer to use assistance of Booking Health. Booking Health is the international medical tourism operator that facilitates undergoing therapy in best hospitals abroad for patients from 75 countries. Work of Booking Health includes:

  • Choosing the best oncological or pulmonological center and physician.
  • Booking an outpatient appointment or date of hospitalization.
  • Assistance in visa issuing and preparing documents for the trip.
  • Professional translation of previous medical reports into German (a doctor will see more comprehensive clinical picture).
  • Supplementary monitoring of therapy course by our medical experts.
  • Distant consultations with attending physician after the program completion.
  • Assistance in financial aspects, control of treatment prices (saving up to 50%).
  • Booking tickets and accommodation, transfer, services of interpreter.

Booking Health provides patients with comprehensive support 24/7, therefore staying in the foreign hospital becomes easy and comfortable. To start medical program planning you should leave the request on the official website of the company and wait for the call from a medical advisor.