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Stomach Cancer Surgery

For people with stomach cancer, surgery is the most common treatment for the disease. There are two main types of surgery: partial gastrectomy and total gastrectomy. If the tumor is blocking the opening to the stomach but the cancer cannot be completely removed by standard surgery, endoluminal stent placement, endoscopic laser surgery, or electrocautery may be used instead.

An Introduction to Surgery for Stomach Cancer

Surgery is the most common treatment for stomach cancer. The type of procedure required will depend on the extent of the cancer.
In this eMedTV article, the term "stomach cancer" is used to refer to gastric adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular tissue in the stomach). Gastric adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer. Other types include lymphomas (cancers involving the lymphatic system) and sarcomas (cancers of the connective tissue, such as muscle, fat, or blood vessels).
(Click Lymphoma to learn about a less common type of cancer that may develop in the stomach.)
There are two main types of stomach cancer surgery: partial gastrectomy and total gastrectomy.
Partial Gastrectomy
In a partial gastrectomy, the surgeon may remove:
  • The part of the stomach that has cancer
  • Part of the esophagus or part of the small intestine
  • Nearby lymph nodes and other tissues
  • The spleen, which is an organ in the upper abdomen (stomach) that filters the blood and removes old blood cells.
A partial gastrectomy is also called a subtotal gastrectomy.
Total Gastrectomy
In a total gastrectomy, the doctor removes the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, parts of the esophagus and small intestine, and other tissues near the tumor. The doctor also may remove the spleen. The surgeon then connects the esophagus directly to the small intestine and makes a new "stomach" out of tissue from the intestine.
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Stomach Cancer Treatments

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