Skip to content
left end
left end
right end

About lung cancer care

Lung cancer patients are looked after by teams of professionals known as multidisciplinary teams or MDTs.  These include chest medicine specialists, radiologists, specialist nurses, oncologists and palliative care doctors, in addition to a chest surgeon.  This allows experts from many different areas to contribute to your care.

Before an operation for lung cancer, most patients will have undergone several tests and scans.  These are done to make a definite diagnosis (although sometimes this is not possible until the operation itself), to assess how advanced the cancer is (called staging) and to thoroughly assess your fitness before surgery.

Surgery is a very good treatment for early lung cancer, but it is not the best treatment for all patients, and is not the only treatment.  In fact, most lung cancer patients are not treated by surgery.  This may be because the cancer is too advanced to be removed by an operation, or because a patient's general health means that an operation is not possible.

Your own team will advise you on your situation and on which tests and treatment they feel are best for you.  Some excellent background information is available online from Cancer Research UK or from the Roy Castle Foundation.

Lung surgery nurse specialist supportLois Phillips

You will usually meet one of the thoracic specialist nurses at your first clinic appointment, after you have seen your consultant. She will be able to answer or clarify any questions you may have and is there to offer help and support at what may be an anxious time for you and your family.

She will explain enhanced recovery to you, what to expect following your surgery and when you go home.

You will be provided with written information about your condition and surgery.

Following your surgery, the thoracic specialist nurse, who is a key member of the daily ward round, is available for questions and advice.

You will be given her contact details at the initial meeting. You or your family can call for advice and support before or after your surgery.

Follow up after lung cancer surgery: specialist nurse-led care

At the Bristol Royal Infirmary, our long term lung cancer follow up service is now run by the nurse specialist team, in a system known as "nurse led" follow up.  Research has shown that patients prefer this.  Your nurse specialist will coordinate support from surgeons, oncologists and other doctors when needed.  We use a mix of clinic visits, structured interviews known as "holistic needs assessments", CT scans and x rays to help keep you well after surgery.

Smoking cessation

Smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer and several other lung diseases.  The most effective way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to quit as soon as you can.

For people preparing for lung surgery, stopping smoking can help reduce the risk of some complications of surgery.  Even after an operation for lung cancer, long term outcome seems to be improved in patients who manage to stop.

Stopping smoking can be very hard, but we are able to refer you to a dedicated smoking cessation service. Please ask any member of staff or the preoperative assessment team should you like to be referred. You can also refer yourself here

We can support you in stopping smoking by prescribing nicotine replacement therapy whilst you are in hospital and ensuring your GP or local smoking cessation service continues this when you leave.