Nearly half of lung cancer patients have tumors that block a portion of the central airways that allow oxygen to get into the lungs. This can arise from tumors compressing the airways or directly growing inside of the airway. Similarly, patients who receive radiation therapy for lung cancer may have their cancer cured but may develop scars that cause narrowing of the airway called "strictures."
At Mayo Clinic, a team of specialists in interventional pulmonology and thoracic surgery specialize in these complex problems. Some patients need to have their airways opened up and their tumor debulked prior to receiving therapy. A prosthesis called a stent may also be placed in the airway. The type of stent placed – silicone, metallic or hybrid – will vary from patient to patient.
It is important that doctors who perform these procedures have experience in all types of therapies. After treatment, the stent might be able to be removed.
Feb. 11, 2022