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Surgery of lung cancer

Surgical treatment is capable of curing lung cancer. For stage IA cancer, more than 60% of the patients are alive 5 years after the operation.   

In Norway, about 20% of all patients with lung cancer are operated. There are reasons to believe that 25% should be offered surgery.

Before operating for lung cancer, sufficient diagnostic clarification is necessary to survey the extent of the disease and the general health of the patient.

This mainly includes:

  • CT imaging
  • Bronchoscopy with biopsy
  • Lung function test
  • Assessment of other possible diseases/risk factors 
  • PET-CT

Planning treatment 

Patients with lung cancer who may be candidates for surgery should be discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting, where an anesthesiologist, oncologist, lung specialist, radiologist, and thoracic surgeon are present. The possibility for surgery or other treatment is assessed.

Operative methods

In Norway, most lung cancer patients are operated by open thoracotomy. An increasing number of patients are operated by thoracoscopy (minimally invasive method).


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