By David Tom Cooke, MD, as told to Susan Bernstein

The term is “inoperable lung cancer.” It means that the risk of surgery to remove the lung cancer exceeds the benefits of the surgery for a patient. However, it is hard to tell if someone is “inoperable.”

Age is one factor that can slightly increase your risk, but it’s not necessarily prohibitive. I’ve operated on 90-year-olds. Other health problems you have can be a factor, such as impaired lung function. If we remove a lung tumor in a person who already has minimal lung function due to severe COPD or emphysema, that…


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