Surgical Treatment Options for Stomach Cancer

Surgery is one of the main treatment options intended to cure stomach cancer. It is often combined with chemotherapy, radiation and or immunotherapy for the best outcomes. However, surgery cannot cure all stomach cancers. Your healthcare provider will advise you if surgery may help cure your cancer. In some cases, your healthcare provider may suggest surgery to help ease cancer symptoms.

Our surgeons use the most advanced technology available, performing leading-edge, minimally invasive surgeries whenever appropriate. Our team of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, anesthesiologists and pathologists have decades of experience caring for patients with stomach cancer.

Types of surgery include:

  • Subtotal gastrectomy removes the part of the stomach that contains cancer, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of other tissues and organs near the tumor.
  • Total gastrectomy removes the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of the esophagus, small intestine and other tissues near the tumor.

If your cancer cannot be completely removed by standard surgery, your surgeon may recommend one or more of these procedures:

  • Gastrojejunostomy uses a small tube to connect the stomach to part of the small intestine. This tube, called a GJ tube, allows patients to have food, liquids and medications given through the end of the tube outside of the abdomen.
  • Endoluminal stent placement inserts a stent (a thin wire tube) to keep a passage open.
  • Palliative surgery helps relieve symptoms, such as a blocked bile duct, for patients with more advanced, incurable cancers.

Learn more about these surgical treatment options.

If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled to visit the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for preoperative information and tests. Learn more about planning for preoperative appointments, as well as contact information for the Weiner Center.

The Day of Surgery

The day of surgery, you will be cared for in the operating room by our surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in stomach cancer surgery. After surgery, you will recover in the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care from our experienced surgical and nursing staff. The length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of surgery you have, ranging from three to 10 days.

With our current pain management strategy, most patients have minimal pain after surgery. Before you leave the hospital, your care team will start you on an oral pain medicine. Talk with your team about your options for pain relief.

After Surgery

Recovery time after you leave the hospital varies from patient to patient, but it may take a month or more. You may feel tired or weak for several weeks after your surgery. You may have constipation from using pain medicine, not moving around or not eating or drinking very much. Talk with your doctor about how to prevent and treat constipation.

If you have any questions about your surgery, talk with your health care team. They can help you know what to expect before, during and after your surgery. Learn more about your hospital stay and returning home.

Learn more about non-surgical treatment options for stomach cancer.

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