Lobectomy - 1246634


My father, age 69 was diagnosed with NSCLC stage 3a /18 months ago. Completed radiation/chemo treatment 1 year ago. Currently in remission. His right lung is severely damaged from the radiation. Top right lobe is collapsed and likely will never reinflate. He has recurring infections, shortness of breath, lots of drainage and an awful cough. That being said, his blood oxygen levels are actually ok. Pulmonolgist has tried all sorts of things, steriods/ breathing treatments, etc. and nothing seems to help. My question: can a damaged lung be removed? And could that alliviate some of his symptoms/issues?
Would greatly appreciate some info and or insight.


Posts: 2753

Hi Lynn,

The problem with a lobectomy is that it is major surgery which can be debilitating and require a long period of recuperation. If he needs systemic treatment during that time, he would likely not be able to tolerate it. Plus if his O2 levels are OK now, removing an entire lung, damaged as it is, might make things worse in that regard.

Forum moderator

Dr West
Posts: 4735

I have never heard of a radiation-damaged lung being removed to improve the situation. I'd be pretty doubtful that it would. As Jim noted, the surgery itself is a pretty significant intervention to go through that is justified if it's with a realistic hope of curing a lung cancer, but it wouldn't generally be done for such unclear benefit, given the very real risks involved.

-Dr. West

Posts: 204

Hello Lynn

I have asked thoracic surgeons about removing my left lung anterior tumor that has been radiated and the answer is AN EMPHATIC NO!!! They said that after radiation, the lung is like cement and can tear off vessels, nerves when they try to peel it off. It is very, very difficult to find a surgeon who would take this big risk, especially when it is not "standard of care" and if complications come up, they can get peer reviewed.

Good Luck