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early lung cancer

bonniejill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2011

I have early lung cancer in right lower lobe and my surgeon wants to remove lower lobe. He does not mention VATS and I wonder why because it seems to me that it would be an easier surgery to go through. Any opinions on this?

sissylu1
Posts: 66
Joined: Jan 2011

I had my right middle lobe removed on Dec 3rd of this year and not with the VATS procedure but the old fashioned way..you should ask your surgeon why you are not a candidate for the VATS procedure, not everyone is and it can depend on several things...what you will begin to hear time and time again is that "everyone is different"...for me, I think it's critical that you have the utmost confidence in your surgeon, however, if you spend any time on this site you will get tons of well headed advice that includes what I feel is most important and that's "take someone with you for a second set of ears" when you go to any appointments..for me once I heard possible cancer as a diagnosis everything else I heard was thru a fog..my surgeon was wonderful and took the time to answer any questions I had as many times as I asked them..I would get home, think of another question, call his office and he would return my call, that's when I knew I had to have someone else go with me for future appointments.
You mention early lung cancer, have you had a biopsy?

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

Hello, My initial lobectomy appt. was with a surgeon who didn't do the vats procedure and was not trained in it. He tried to convince me that the procedure should be done the standard way and not with vats. Well I was not impressed and went to a surgeon who does the vats procedure. This surgeon told me that he will do the vats but also warned me if he had to perform the surgery with the standard surgery that's what he would do. I would certainly get an appointment with a surgeon that does vats. I had my vats surgery for the lower right lobe lobectomy on 9-23-10 and have done great. I wish you well. Lori

dennycee
Posts: 643
Joined: Mar 2011

Bonniejill,
Please consider a getting second opinion. Please let us know how things go.
Denise

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

You say he didn't mention VATS. That really doesn't mean that he is not going to do VATS. Ask him directly. If he doesn't do it than get out and get to a surgeon who has done lots with that procedure.
I was prepped for both but got the VATS and was very thankful. As someone else said, make sure you have someone with you.

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

I am a 3yr survivor of early stage (1a) lung cancer in the lower right lobe. Can't imagine not having VATS. I would seek a second opinion, maybe a teaching hospital near you. Also I would ask your surgeon about VATS. Maybe that is what he is planning. Either way you need to open up the lines of communication between you and your dr.

Good luck and will keep you in my prayers.

cathy

bonniejill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2011

Yes I have had a biopsy done and my surgeon thinks it is 1st stage and under an inch is size. He has not mentioned Vats just doing a resection is what I think he called it. He said I could possibly be in the hospital for 10 to 14 days!!! That sounds like a real major situation.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

I had vats and was in the hospital for 3 days. How old are you and do have any other health issues that the dr is concerned about. Sorry to be so nosy. Lori

sissylu1
Posts: 66
Joined: Jan 2011

The smaller the better in this case so that is good news..but again, the kind procedure that is being offered can depend on so many other things so the majority of people on this site cannot give you specific advice because all of our cases have thier own individual issues.
I had my right middle lobe removed and not by VATS..I was in the hospital for 10 days..VATS is a shorter recovery period but again, ask your surgeon..write down the questions..if you don't feel like you are being given all the answers you need then seek a second opinion and please take someone with you.

grannylove
Posts: 183
Joined: Apr 2011

to hear of your diagnosis, but we welcome you to this board. I too was diagnosed with early lung cancer and had a right upper lobectomy this past May. My surgeon is a specialist in lung cancer and does the VATS procedure, as well as the traditional. Prior to my lobectomy, I had a biopsy and a mediastinoscopy, where he went in to get samples of lymph nodes, samples of my pleural cavity and to inspect the outside of the lung to make sure the cancer had not come thru the lung lining. We had decided on a VATS procedure at that time but looking at the films further (as I was laying on the table in surgery), he opted to do the traditional surgery so that he could take out a few nodes on the sternum that were questionable. Even though I was expecting VATS, my surgeon knew I wanted to be very agressive in removing this cancer and felt the traditional was in the best interest. I had surgery on a Thursday afternoon, and came home on Sunday. I am in my mid 50's and fairly healthy. I think it is important to find a surgeon that listens and respects your questions and that YOU feel totally confident in. This is a major surgery but it is very doable. You did not mention when you will be getting your surgery but feel free to visit with concerns, questions or just to vent if you need to. Here, you will find very kind, knowledgeable, supportive and helpful people. You are not alone in this fight. Keep us posted on how you are doing. God bless and don't forget to stay strong! Cheryl

bonniejill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2011

To answer your questions, I am 63 and I do have emphysema. I have a 30% loss of lung capacity but it's not too bad unless I exert myself. I don't know when my surgery is, I go on Oct. 6 to set it up. I had to have pulmonary and stress testing done so when I got the results from my primary dr. they sent it to the surgeons office and I didn't hear from them right away. I called them and because it was a month since I was there he wanted another CT scan done which I had done yesterday. Hopefully I will find out something on the 6th. I think my great fear with the surgery is waking up with the breathing tube, respirator, in me.I am terrified of that, to the point of even thinking about skipping the surgery, but hopefully I have come to terms with that. Thank you all for your input and time you have put forth. It has definitely helped.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

Hello again, My dr told me that when my lower right lobe was removed that the other lobes in my right lung would expand by up to 30% to compensate for the loss. I have also read where emphysema is sometimes helped by lobe removal of diseased lung. I hope you are doing breathing exercises, as I know they will help. The emphysema might be why the longer hospital stay to make sure your lung function is back to normal before they release you. I know if they don't think you'll be alright after lung surgery they will not operate and they will treat you with chemo and radiation. Please keep us posted. I am sending positive thoughts your way. Lori

bonniejill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2011

Thank you Lori for your encouragement. Have a blessed day.

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

I was 73 when I had my lobectomy last Dec. Like you I had emphysema. I had many tests leading up to the surgery as the surgeon said I fell into the gray area of a successful outcome. However, he did it and I was thrilled as I felt it was the best way to affect a cure. I didn't need any further treatment. The VATS surgery is not too hard to recover from. Almost right away you need to walk, walk, and walk some more and keep at it every day so you get stronger.
Please don't be afraid of it. Good luck and keep us updated.
If it gives you encouragement, I am going to South Africa in two weeks. That is a very long way (two day trip) from where I live on the west coast of Canada.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

If this doesn't encourage bonniejill, let me tell you it sure encourages me. My sister went to South Africa and they were warned about the last refuel stop that they will come in and spray the passengers to disinfect them so they won't bring any bugs or pests not native to South Africa into the country. I know they just covered their faces, and were fine. Have a great trip. Lori

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

Thankfully they don't do any spraying on the flights to SA. I go from Vancouver to Amsterdam and then to Cape Town. Diane

grannylove
Posts: 183
Joined: Apr 2011

Have a wonderful vacation! You deserve it. I know you have mentioned it on previous posts and now it is almost here. I hope you keep a journal because I would love to hear about it when you get back. I am so excited for you. Godspeed! Cheryl

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Only some surgeons can do a VATS procedure. You want one that has completed many VATS procedures. The recovery time is MUCH shorter. Esp. if you have lung problems already, shorter is better. Less pain is better. Smaller incisions are better, much better. Not everyone can get a VATS procedure, but the real reason most folks don't get a VATS procedure is that it is hard to find a surgeon that does them. Look for a surgeon in a large university hospital or search the web for the procedure. It may take a month to get on the list, but it will be time well spent. The success in removing tumors is the same either way, but the recovery is markedly faster with the VATS. Good luck!

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