While 87% of lung cancer patients die of their disease, 13% survive, representing 26,000 patients per year in North America alone (almost all attributable to surgery). Thus, while the overall mortality of thoracic surgery is 3-4% [Licker M et al. Ann Thorac Surg 81: 1830, 2006], because it is impossible to tell a priori who will succumb to disease, thoracic surgery for lung disease is often reasonable. NSCLC, the most common group of lung cancers, has a 90% mortality rate with nonsurgical treatment at 5 years, versus a 60% 5-year mortality rate following surgery.
/ / Introduction to Thoracic Anesthesia