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Surgery for Lung Metastasis

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If lung metastases are causing difficult symptoms or problems with lung function, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat those complications. You can work together to decide whether the potential benefits of lung surgery outweigh the risks and whether you feel well enough to have surgery.

In carefully selected cases, some doctors may offer surgery for lung metastases, even in the absence of symptoms. Typically, this option is limited to patients who are generally in good health, have only one area of metastasis, have gone for a few years without any evidence of disease, and have hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer (suggesting that the cancer is easier to treat). It’s best if the surgeon is confident that the entire tumor can be removed. These aren’t hard and fast rules, though, and doctors disagree on the benefits of surgery for lung metastases. Talk to your doctor to see what he or she recommends.

Surgical options include minimally invasive thoracoscopy: In some cases, a thoracic surgeon — a surgeon who specializes in procedures involving the chest — can operate through very small incisions to remove the lung lesions or the portion of the lung where they’re located in a procedure known as minimally invasive thoracoscopy. Your individual situation will help guide treatment decisions.

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