7 doctors weighed in:

How come surgical removal of a lung not stop lung cancer?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Vamsidhar Velcheti
Internal Medicine - Oncology
3 doctors agree

In brief: See below

Surgical removal of the tumor may only ensure removal of gross visible disease but in most cases of lung cancer the cells from the tumor likely have already migrated to distant sites and may be potential sites that cancer may develop.
Most patients with lung cancer may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery to decrease likelihood of the cancer coming back.

In brief: See below

Surgical removal of the tumor may only ensure removal of gross visible disease but in most cases of lung cancer the cells from the tumor likely have already migrated to distant sites and may be potential sites that cancer may develop.
Most patients with lung cancer may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery to decrease likelihood of the cancer coming back.
Dr. Vamsidhar Velcheti
Dr. Vamsidhar Velcheti
Thank
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology
2 doctors agree

In brief: When already spread

Resection of a portion of lung will cure a lung cancer when, and only when, there is not a single cell from the original tumor capable of starting a colony anywhere else in the body.
Unfortunately, in a majority of non-oat-cell cancers and almost all oat cell cancers, at least one cell has made it via a lymphatic or blood vessel to a remote site. There's no being sure and surgery's often worth it.

In brief: When already spread

Resection of a portion of lung will cure a lung cancer when, and only when, there is not a single cell from the original tumor capable of starting a colony anywhere else in the body.
Unfortunately, in a majority of non-oat-cell cancers and almost all oat cell cancers, at least one cell has made it via a lymphatic or blood vessel to a remote site. There's no being sure and surgery's often worth it.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Thank