If you are suffering from lung cancer, your doctor may recommend surgery. If the disease is still in its early stages, surgery may be sufficient for eliminating the cancerous cells. Otherwise, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be necessary. Even when lung cancer surgery is performed using minimally invasive techniques, it is often traumatic on the patient’s body. For this reason, your physician will want to conduct a number of tests during the days leading up to the operation. He or she may also make a few suggestions that can improve the results of the procedure.
This article will provide an overview of the process leading up to your lung cancer surgery. Whether you’re planning to undergo a wedge resection, lobectomy, or pneumonectomy, knowing what lies ahead will relieve your anxiety, and help you prepare.
Tests To Monitor Your Condition And Health
The outcome of the procedure will depend largely on your health. The healthier you are, the better your body will able to tolerate the operation. Your physician will examine your medical history to look for preconditions or past complications that may make surgery impossible. These include postoperative clotting, problems tolerating anesthesia, and breathing issues following procedures in the past. Your doctor will also need to be informed regarding any medications you’re taking since they can increase the chances of bleeding.
A physical examination will be done as well as tests to monitor the strength of your body’s pulmonary system. If your pulmonary function is severely hampered, lung cancer surgery – especially in the case of a pneumonectomy – may not be an option.
Improving Your Chances For A Successful Recovery
If you’re currently a habitual smoker, your doctor will strongly suggest you quit. Doing so can improve your ability to heal properly following lung cancer surgery. You should also take the time to work with your doctor toward creating an exercise routine you can follow after the operation. A regular workout consisting of mild exercises will help your pulmonary and circulatory systems recover.
Lastly, plan in advance to have others help you with specific tasks after you are released from the hospital. For example, you’ll need someone to either prepare or bring meals to you; you’ll require help with vacuuming, dusting, yard work, and other chores; and you may need a friend or neighbor to check in on you daily just in case you experience complications stemming from your surgery.
Important Questions For Your Doctor
Prior to the operation, it’s important to clarify any details about which you have questions. For example, ask your doctor about the type of anesthesia you’ll receive. Ask about the possible side effects, and any changes you’ll need to make to your lifestyle due to impaired lung function. You’ll also want to ask the medications you’ll be given to take at home. Ask about potential signs that indicate there may be a problem during your recovery, and whom you should call if you notice them. Also, find out when you can expect to resume your normal activities, including returning to work.
Other Considerations Prior To Surgery
Even though minimally invasive lung cancer surgery poses fewer complications than open thoracotomy, they can still occur. It’s worth preparing in advance. For example, many people choose to donate their blood for use in the event they require a transfusion during the procedure. That way, they can avoid relying upon the hospital’s supply. This can be especially useful if you have a rare blood type (e.g. AB Rh negative).
You may also want to designate someone who can make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. The person you designate can decide which medical treatments you should – and should not – receive.
Nearly all minimally invasive lung cancer surgeries are performed without problems. If you’re planning to undergo such a procedure, however, it’s worth preparing ahead as much as possible.