Lung Cancer Surgery Terms

Cancer that begins in cells that have glandular (secretory) properties

Adrenal glands
Adrenal glands, which are also called suprarenal glands, are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys. An adrenal gland is made of two parts: the outer region is called the adrenal cortex and the inner region is called the adrenal medulla.

Bone scan
An imaging test in which a radionuclear substance is injected into the veins and taken up by the bones in areas of potential metastatic disease

Bronchial tree
The larger air passages of the lungs

Bronchoalveolar carcinoma
Bronchoalveolar carcinoma represents 10% to 25% of adenocarcinomas. Bronchoalveolar cancer may be spread throughout the lungs more than other types of cancer. Bronchoalveolar cancer is more common in women and in patients who do not smoke cigarettes than other types of lung cancer.

An instrument with a small light and camera which is inserted through the nose or mouth. When a suspicious area is seen, an instrument is channeled through the bronchoscope to take a lung or bronchial biopsy (tissue samples taken to diagnose or rule out disease).

A procedure that involves inserting a flexible tube (bronchoscope) through the nose down into the lungs. Needles can be inserted through the bronchoscope to obtain biopsy samples.

A carcinoid tumor, sometimes referred to as simply carcinoid, is a tumor of the network of glands that produce and secrete hormones into the bloodstream (the neuroendocrine system).

A bone that links the scapula (shoulder blade) and sternum (breastbone). The clavicle is located just above the first rib on either side of the neck, and has the form of a narrow elongated "S." This is also called the collarbone

CT (Computed Tomography) of the chest
Computerized series of x-rays that create a detailed cross-sectional image of the chest

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or emphysema

Regional anesthesia resulting from injection of an anesthetic into the epidural space of the spinal cord

On or relating to the same side of the body

Large cell carcinoma
A group of lung cancers in which the cells are large and look abnormal

An organ in the body that changes food into energy, removes alcohol and poisons from the blood, and makes bile, a substance that breaks down fats and helps rid the body of wastes

Surgical removal of a lobe (anatomic division) of the lung

Lung nodule
A small growth in the lung

Lymph node
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that are laced throughout the body along the lymphatic routes. Lymph nodes contain specialized compartments where immune cells congregate, and where they can encounter antigens (toxins or enzymes capable of stimulating an immune response). They are located in the lungs them selves and around them. Cancers may spread to the lymph nodes.

The mass of extra cells that forms a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.

An instrument inserted through an incision above the sternum to visually examine the mediastinum (the part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the heart, aorta, esophagus, trachea and thymus)

A surgical procedure by which lymph nodes or other things can be biopsied for microscopic examination

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
A test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of organs and structures inside the body

Muscle sparing incision
A less invasive surgical procedure using a smaller incision(s) than a conventional surgical procedure. This incision does not require division of the chest muscles.

Neo-adjuvant therapy
Therapy given before the primary therapy; for example, neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, which is chemotherapy given prior to surgery

Non-small cell lung cancer
A lung cancer in the form of squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, or large cell carcinoma. Non-small cell lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung.

PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
A nuclear medicine imaging test that measures metabolism; can differentiate between healthy and abnormal tissue

Surgical removal of the entire lung

Posterolateral thoracotomy
An incision through that extends from the back to the side of the chest, usually between the 5th to 7th rib space. This is the surgical route usually chosen for access to the lung, esophagus or descending aorta.

Small cell lung cancer
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung. Small cell lung cancer is not commonly treated with surgery; radiation and chemotherapy are used instead.

Squamous cell carcinoma
Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. This is also called epidermoid carcinoma.

A comparative measure to determine how far a patient's cancer has spread

The airway that leads from the larynx to the lungs; this is also called the windpipe