Surgery for stomach cancer
Surgery is often used to treat stomach cancer. The type of surgery you have depends mainly on the size and location of the tumour. When planning surgery, your healthcare team will also consider other factors, such as:
- the type of stomach cancer
- your age
- how well your organs are working
- your nutritional status (a measure of how well your body’s nutritional needs are being met)
Surgery may be done for different reasons. You may have surgery to:
- try to cure the cancer by completely removing all of the tumour and surrounding lymph nodes
- reconstruct the gastrointestinal (GI) tract after the stomach has been removed (this is done at the time of the original surgery)
- ease symptoms of advanced stomach cancer (palliative treatment)
Evaluation before surgery
People need to be as healthy as possible before they have surgery for stomach cancer because it can be a difficult operation that may be hard to recover from. A person with stomach cancer is thoroughly evaluated before surgery. The following may be included to make an evaluation:
A complete medical history and physical exam may be done. Tell the surgeon if you’ve had previous surgeries in the abdomen. This may affect the ability to safely remove the stomach and reconstruct the gastrointestinal tract.
Blood tests, such as a complete blood count, blood chemistry, coagulation (blood clotting) profile, and liver and kidney function tests may be done.
Heart and lung function tests are done to make sure you are healthy enough to have surgery. You may learn special coughing and breathing exercises to help keep your lungs clear. It is very important to quit smoking at least one month before surgery. Smoking can increase your risk of lung infection (pneumonia), poor wound healing, stroke and blood clots.
A nutritional assessment is done to find out your weight and how much food you’ve been eating. People with stomach cancer may be malnourished and underweight if they were unable to eat before being diagnosed. You may need nutritional supplements, a feeding tube or intravenous (IV) feeding before and after surgery to gain weight and improve your nutrition and health.
Watch video of Laparoscopic assisted distal radical gastrectomy