Lung Surgery

Posted By
SamC 23
5/2/2014 4:43pm
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Replies: 8

Hello everyone,

I was diagnosed with Melanoma back in March 2011. Surgery was performed to remove it from my back along with a sentinel node from my right armpit.

I 've had two CT scans in two months. The first one indicated a nodule on the lower left lung measuring 15x11. Second scan showed it grew to 28x14. I'm a little nervous for what is about to happen in the next few weeks.... Thank you 

Randy437 - (5/2/2014 - 4:50pm)

I don't know that our circumstances are the same, but I had single mets removed from each lung in 2007/2008.  One was a lobectomy and the other was a resection.  While I'm not climbing mountains, there have been few, if any, side effects.

kylez - (5/2/2014 - 6:31pm)

Hi Sam, 

Is the next step for you surgery? Are you scheduled for a VATS surgical procedure? If so, has anybody discussed the possibility of participating in an 'adjuvant' clinical trial aftewards, like IPI? I don't know what trials for adjuvant therapy after surgical resection are or aren't available, but it might add a second punch to have a 1-2 combo.

If you're having a VATS, I had one in 2010 when there were 8 small mets spread in both lungs. They took 3 wedge sections from my right lung for biopsy (the next step was a systemic treatment, because it was not a single node). I was in the hospital for a night and a day aftewards. As this was my first hospitalization (since I had my tonsils out as a kid) it was a bit of an adjustment dealing with the hospital scene, IV poles, the single drain tube, beeping noises, crowded wards, shared rooms, and so forth. I realized (after the fact) was that it would have been easier if I had tried to relax and 'go with the flow' a little bit more, somehow. I was sore when I got home but not too bad and I only needed/wanted pain meds for a couple of days. They gave me a breathing exercise device but it didn't take long before my lung was fully normal again.

Moving up to today, after being NED for awhile (and for a long time in my lungs), I may be in a somewhat similar situation to you as there is a new single lung met, that they found it in January about 2cm in a 'paratracheal lymph node' in my right lung. In March it scanned at 2.4 x 3cm. As far as treatment choices, my doctors discussed surgery, cyberknife (apparently they can do this with a lung met, apparently the computer matches and adjusts the beam with the breathing?), 'watch and wait', IPI reinduction, or a look for a clinical trial.As I've had prior mets, I went for one of the systemic therapies options, a gamble mostly based in having had prior mets elsewhere.

Good luck and I would say, although this is naturally stressful, try to find a way to relax leading up to the surgery if you're having that, to the extent possible.

- Kyle


2 primaries; lung/brain mets in past; paratracheal lymph node currently; participating in  Opdivo/Lirilumab trial

LuckyMan51 - (5/2/2014 - 7:54pm)


I had a wedge resection on my lower left lung lobe in August 2011. I took my mandatory two weeker the last two weeks of August and scheduled a family trip on week one and the surgery for week two. Nice clean cut through the side. The doctor used a rib spreader and slipped a really interesting device through which cuts a wedge like section of the lung, cauterizes, staples and pulls the wedge section with the tumor in it right out like a little bag. I must admit I did feel like a got hit by a truck for about a week but it passed pretty quickly and I went back to work in 7-8 days. A little sore when back at work the week after but not terribly painful, more like a sore muscles feel. I exercised my lungs for a few weeks with a plastic blowing device the doctor gave me. Pretty amazing how fast it worked and my lung capacity recovered quickly. Zero after effect within a month or so and now almost three years later if I didn't see the thin scar when I lift my left arm I wouldn't even remember it. Don't be nervous just get that thing cut out and dont look back. Good luck! 

SamC 23 - (5/3/2014 - 9:24am)

I was notified yesterday that a biopsy will be performed. Just wondering if they are going to biopsy why not take the whole thing out?? I failed to mention yesterday there is a smaller node on my right lung too . My doctor is concerned more about the one on my left. No surgery date has been set. The whole waiting thing sucks but I have to be patient. I just recently became a dad for the first time! So that keeps me upbeat!!

I guess the scariest part is them going into the lungs and then waiting again to find out if it is met... I thank you all for your words and hearing your experiences. I just joined the organization two days ago and found it extremely helpful!


kylez - (5/3/2014 - 2:49pm)


I'd suggest asking your doctor for the reasoning behind doing a biopsy vs. taking the whole suspicious node in your left lung. The presence of another node in your other lung *might* have something to do with it.

2 primaries; lung/brain mets in past; paratracheal lymph node currently; participating in  Opdivo/Lirilumab trial

SamC 23 - (5/3/2014 - 6:54pm)

Thanks Kyle I appreciate your advice. I hope to have more answers on Monday

JerryfromFauq - (5/19/2014 - 9:43pm)

Generally a surgical biopsy removes the entire nodule.  A biopsy would normally remove a big section of a lung.

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

kylez - (5/19/2014 - 10:14pm)

I think you're right Jerry. Thinking back to my VATS:

There were 8 nodes (both lungs). They had a pathologist in the OR. They worked on one lung only. They took 2 or 3 wedge resections (probably means 2 or 3 entire nodes like you're saying). The purpose of those wedge sections was for biopsy only though -- they weren't trying to get all of the nodules out, even in one lung, never mind both.

2 primaries; lung/brain mets in past; paratracheal lymph node currently; participating in  Opdivo/Lirilumab trial