Lobectomy Expectations

The lobectomy expectations for recovery depend on your general health and your age. Having a lobectomy may relieve (or even eliminate) some of your symptoms. However, in many cases, the cancer eventually returns.

What Are the Expected Results of a Lobectomy?

There are a number of things to consider when discussing the expected results of a lobectomy. Some of these include the recovery and how successful the surgery will be in relieving symptoms and removing the cancer.

Your Recovery From Lobectomy

Your lobectomy recovery will depend on a number of factors, including your age and health. If you have other health problems besides lung cancer, they may make your recovery process more difficult. Other treatments you may be having, such as lung cancer radiation or lung cancer chemotherapy, can also affect how you feel and how quickly you recover.
If your surgeon has to remove the whole lung, instead of just part of it, your lobectomy recovery might take longer. This might happen, for example, if the tumor is larger than your tests showed. It might also happen if the blood or oxygen supply to the remaining lobes is too low for them to stay healthy. When you have only one lung, it puts extra strain on the heart. How well your remaining lung works, and how it affects your heart, will be big factors in your recovery after the surgery.

Relieving Symptoms and Removing the Cancer

After a lobectomy, your results will depend on several things, such as:
  • The size and type of the tumor in your lung
  • Where it was located
  • Whether or not it has spread to the lymph nodes in your lung or chest, or anywhere else in your body.
Having a lobectomy can help relieve, or even eliminate, some of your symptoms. It may also keep the cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. After the lung lobectomy, you may still have pain in your chest and back, and shortness of breath. You will have a scar on your chest that may take several months to heal completely. You may also find that it takes several months to get your strength back.
Even after you heal, you might have some limits on how much physical activity you can do. You probably won't be able to do as much as you could before.
Unfortunately, even though surgery can help reduce your symptoms, the cancer does return in many patients -- regardless of whether part, or all, of the lung was removed. This is more likely in some patients than others, so you should talk with your healthcare providers about your particular situation. It's important that you and your doctor have the same expectations about the lobectomy.
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Lobectomy for Lung Cancer

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