(HealthDay News) — One in five patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer are deemed high-risk or ineligible for lung surgery, but these patients may benefit from the procedure, according to research published online Nov. 9 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

The study included 490 early-stage lung cancer patients who underwent surgery between 2009 and 2013. Of those, 180 patients were classified as high risk.

High-risk patients had slightly longer hospital stays than standard-risk patients — five days versus four days, and the postoperative mortality risk was 2 and 1 percent, respectively. Three years after surgery, 59 percent of high-risk patients and 76 percent of standard-risk patients were still alive.


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“Importantly, we found that about 20 percent of our patients had cancer that had spread to their lymph nodes, a finding that was unexpected based on the preoperative imaging tests,” study leader Manu Sancheti, M.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in a journal news release. “High-risk patients have a new treatment avenue that previously may have been denied to them. A multidisciplinary team should review each case to determine the best treatment plan for individual lung cancer patients.”

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