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Lung Cancer

In the United States, approximately 170,000 people are diagnosed with cancer of the lung and bronchus, annually. This disease is the number one cancer killer in the nation, claiming 154,900 lives per year. This number exceeds the combined total of deaths due to cancers of the colon, breast, and prostate. The reason for this unfortunate statistic is secondary to lung cancer typically being discovered late in the disease process. Only 10-15% of lung cancers are found at an early stage.

Treatment options for lung cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. For localized tumors, surgery offers the best chance for cure. More advance cancers are better served with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Intermediate stage cancers may benefit from a combination of the three treatments. The surgeons of Phoenix Cardiac Surgery work closely with lung specialists, medical and radiation oncologists to develop individualized treatment strategies for our patients.

For cancers that are amenable to surgical removal, the goal of the operation is to remove the entire cancer and lymph nodes in the chest. The operation is conducted with a general anesthesia and typically involves an incision on the side of the chest, called a thoracotomy. The amount of lung removed is dependent upon the size and location of the cancer. Lymph nodes within the chest are removed and checked for cancer cells by hospital pathologists. Knowing if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes allows physicians to accurately stage the cancer, and later determine if chemotherapy and radiation therapy would be beneficial to the patient. Following surgery, patients are admitted to the hospital for about 4 to 7 days prior to discharge home.

The surgeons of Phoenix Cardiac Surgery are experienced with the surgical treatment of lung cancer. Our goal is to completely remove the lung cancer, while preserving as much lung function as possible.

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