Removing 2 lower lobes in 3 weeks time - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

5,036 members3,046 posts

Removing 2 lower lobes in 3 weeks time

Ian_cee profile image

Morning everyone,

Got the news yesterday that I'm to get the two lower lobes of my right lung removed (with associated tumor) in a few weeks. Best course of action as cancer is nowhere else. Am a fairly athletic 47yr old (never smoked) so am not too worried, should I be? I guess my question to you guys that may have been there before is what can I expect from the whole process?

9 Replies

Dear Ian_cee

Sorry to hear you have lung cancer and great to hear that you have no spread.

For cancers that are caught early, research has shown that surgery is usually the option of choice in providing the best outcome.

Your age and fitness level will be an advantage for you and most people recover well, everyone is different in their recovery so it will be important to listen to your body and pace yourself with activity after your operation and not to rush things.

I have attached the link for our lung surgery booklet, it explains what happens before and after surgery, including timelines for recovery at home and what to expect:

If you wish to discuss anything you can either email us at or call our freephone nurse led helpline number on 0800 358 7200

All the very best for your surgery

The Roy Castle Support Team

Hi Ian. I had the upper right lobe removed via a Thoracotomy in September 2018 after undergoing Chemoradiation to shrink the tumour. I am a fit (daily swimmer) 68 year old and a non smoker and it will be your fitness that will help you during your recovery. I'm not going to lie it is a painful op but I was given morphine post op which was great and controlled the pain and on discharge I was taking a combination of pain relief. I had great post op treatment and physio in hospital for 3 days. Keep taking the pain relief for as long as you need it and regularly. One of the side affects of this pain relief is constipation so keep on top of that with daily lactulose and Senna. My advice would be to practice some deep breathing exercises now before your op and as soon as the op is over. Get yourself some comfortable cushions and pillows as you will need those when sitting and in bed. I found it uncomfortable to lie on my side for a few weeks. I gradually moved around a little bit each day and slowly increased walking and getting some fresh air. There is some great surgical information on the Roy Castle website. I wish you well with your surgery, keep in touch X

Ian_cee profile image
Ian_cee in reply to Swimdown

Thanks for the info, how long before you were able to get about normally? Dont mean cycling to Paris, just about to walk, drive light exercise etc?

Swimdown profile image
Swimdown in reply to Ian_cee

I started a very short walk down the road after about a week and slowly increased it. Bending, stretching or doing any other exercise was too painful for a few weeks. I have to admit I was impatient to do more but realised I had to listen to my body! I returned to swimming after about 4.months and did a slow breast stroke I was driving short distances after a couple of months but did find the seat belt uncomfortable and turning around etc.. I hope this helps Ian, feel free to ask anything at all X

The Roy Castle upload has lots of good information. The only thing I might add is that for the first couple weeks you may find it less painful to sleep in a reclining chair with pillows tucked about you and a small pillow to hug when you sneeze or cough.

The chair will do a better job supporting the ribs. Lying flat puts strain on the ribs by causing them to spread a bit.

The senna that Swimdown mentioned is a great suggestion. Also, what was mentioned about pain management. Your body is going to be working hard enough to heal itself pain slows the process down.

For the first couple weeks pick up nothing larger than about 4k.

I’m grateful to learn that your cancer was found early enough that you qualify for surgery.

Hi Ian,

I had two lower lobes of right lung removed 9 wks ago, my recovery was good and I was walking 2miles a day with 1/2 mile incline 4 wks later. Everybody is different but my advice would be plenty excersise prior to surgery and after surgery set yourself goals starting small and build from there, listen to your body if it's tired rest is just as important. Are you having keyhole or open surgery?

Ian_cee profile image
Ian_cee in reply to Eglingham

They haven't said if its going to be keyhole or not, Just checking over your posts, hows the nausea now?


Eglingham profile image
Eglingham in reply to Ian_cee

I have actually been back into hospital 3wks ago to have the rest of my right lung removed, this time they started giving me lansoprazole for the stomach and I have had no nausea at all.

The suggestions on here are all good advice - I had upper left lobe removed in Dec 2010 - I was a regular swimmer (130 lengths 3-4 times a week) - hadn't swum since emergency admission in the Oct but surgeon said it was ok so went the day before and the day of surgery (80 lengths). I was back at work in the February and resumed swimming at end of March 2011 - after surgeon asked me how it was going. He was shocked that I hadn't returned. I'd showered every day when home (not keyhole) spent 6 days in hospital but poor aftercare/lack of any advice and the wound had started to open up so then became fearful of going into a pool of chlorinated water. The first swim was painful as he said it would be - muscle wastage/cut during surgery but over time, I built it up (started sculling on my back for 20 lengths on 31.3) and by the June was back to my 130 lengths of breast stroke, front crawl and back sculling. Apparently I could have returned much sooner but as I was not in touch with anyone, and not had surgery since I was 3 or 4, I thought I had to wait until I saw him again. Apparently not... I went onto swim much further and more frequently than ever - building it up to 360 in a single session and 989 miles one year and 980 another within a couple of years. My surgeon said keeping active is the key to recovery and preparation - that if you keep active post surgery, the remaining part of the lung (or remaining lung if whole removed) will develop further to compensate - not fully filling the space but will increase capacity with a thinner surface tension (like a balloon) but if you're inactive, it may well not return to proper capacity - can stay partially collapsed I understand. I was 52 at the time - not athletic but swimming fit and working (still do both). I tried to come off painkillers too soon (had reaction to morphine so that stopped whilst in hospital) as feared addiction but a nurse explained how to manage pain (2 different families of pain control required in the blood stream/system at once) and as it's only for a short while can improve recovery. Sleeping propped up with pillows and sitting in a chair with cushions behind helped me and getting up and walking about - first in the house then down the road, building it up a bit at a time. The booklet on Roy Castle website 'my lung surgery' has only recently been updated and is full of information. It's common for patients to be consented for full surgery even if keyhole intended in case they have to change procedure partway through. good luck.

You may also like...