About the Condition
Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is a very rare cancer that is often diagnosed at a late stage. More than 90 percent of stomach cancers are classified as adenocarcinoma. Other uncommon stomach cancers include lymphomas, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and carcinoids. They all occur in the stomach lining and, depending on the location of the tumor, can involve partial or complete removal of the stomach (gastrectomy).
Prior to your surgery for stomach cancer, you may be asked to:
- Stop smoking for one month prior to your surgery. Nicotine decreases blood flow and prevents healing after surgery and increases your risk of infection.
- Increase your activity. Aim for 30 minutes of walking or other aerobic activity daily to build strength. Get an activity tracker. Walking 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily is ideal.
- Improve your nutrition and take a multivitamin daily. Add protein supplements such as Boost or Ensure to help your body heal after surgery.
Please ask your physician about any additional steps you should take before your surgery.
Our surgeons perform open surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgeries, for stomach cancer. Early-stage tumors may be removed through an endoscopy procedure. When that is not possible, surgeons may perform a subtotal gastrectomy, removing only a portion of your stomach. A total gastrectomy removes the entire stomach. Your surgeon will explain your particular procedure in more detail.
Minimally invasive surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery is performed with laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.
- Laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery requires only a few small incisions into which your surgeon will fit long, thin surgical instruments and a tiny camera. The camera will provide images to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
- Robotic surgery. Some laparoscopic surgeries may be performed using the da Vinci Surgical System. This robotic option gives your surgeon a magnified 3D high-definition view inside your body. The system also enables the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into precise movements of small instruments inside your body.
Open surgery. Minimally With open surgery, your physician will make an incision at the site of the abnormality large enough so he or she can see and touch your internal organs while operating.
- You will be encouraged to walk to prevent blood clots, muscle weakness and constipation. Walking 7,000 steps daily is ideal.
- Wear an abdominal binder while upright. You may choose to sleep in the abdominal binder for added comfort.
- You may have a feeding tube or drains after surgery. Your surgeon will discuss how to manage these drains. You may need some assistance from family or friends.
- You may experience constipation. If so, you may take a laxative such as Miralax or Milk of Magnesia.
- Ice may help to reduce the swelling for the first 48 to 96 hours. Then use heat to ease muscle soreness and relax tight muscles.
- You may use ibuprofen in addition to prescription pain medication to help with pain control.
- A small amount of bleeding or drainage is expected from the wound during the first one or two days.
- You may shower one or two days after surgery, but avoid baths, hot tubs, soaking or swimming for at least two weeks.
- An abdominal binder may be helpful in providing support to your abdominal wall.
- Always talk to your surgeon about weight restrictions and return-to-work options.
- You will be asked to see your surgeon in one to three weeks after surgery.
- If you notice a fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or drainage from your wound, let your surgeon know by calling 763.780.6699.
- Depending on open vs. minimally invasive surgery, most patients are discharged within four to seven days of their surgery.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at 763.780.6699.