The long-term follow-up of patients with bronchial carcinoma treated by surgery is presented. Of 471 patients who underwent thoracotomy, the tumour could not be resected in 38 (8%). Sixty-three (13.4%) died within the first four weeks; 125 (28.9%) survived more than five years. A high percentage developed either late metastases, late recurrences, or a second primary lung carcinoma. The results of surgical resection for bronchial carcinoma cannot be considered satisfactory, although resection remains the best treatment even in those patients with an apparently unfavourable prognosis. In spite of reservations regarding retrospective studies, conclusions can be drawn regarding diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis. Questions concerning histological type, size, and site of tumour, and tumour stage can be answered only after an adequate postoperative interval. Five years after operation the patient who has apparently been successfully treated may die from a second primary carcinoma.
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