Surgery for stomach cancer and GISTs

Surgery for cancer and tumours in the stomach

HCA UK experts are here to make sure you get the right treatment for stomach cancer based on your individual needs.

About stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is a reasonably uncommon type of cancer. It is more likely to affect men over the age of 55. The most common type develops in the cells of the stomach lining. This is called an adenocarcinoma and affects over 90% of cases.

The first symptoms of stomach cancer can be confused with other conditions. Initial symptoms include:

  • frequent indigestion
  • feeling bloated or very full after meals
  • trapped wind
  • persistent tummy pain
  • if your cancer is more advanced you may experience: fatigue (tiredness), blood in your stools (poo), weight loss and little or no appetite

Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are less common and found in the digestive system, usually in the wall of the stomach. If you have an early-stage GIST you may not have any symptoms. At the more advanced stage, your symptoms will be similar to the stomach cancer symptoms above.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    At HCA UK, we aim to provide cancer surgery as soon as possible. We invest in the most advanced technology so you have access to the latest surgical methods. The type of surgery you need depends on where the cancer is in your stomach.

    It may involve removing:

    • some of the stomach (subtotal gastrectomy) or all of it (gastrectomy)
    • the lining of your stomach, known as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), for very early stage cancers
    • lymph nodes around your stomach from the blood vessels to the stomach

    If you have GISTs, the tumour will be removed, along with some surrounding healthy tissue. Other organs may be removed if the tumour has spread.

  • Types of surgery for stomach cancer icon plus

    Surgery for stomach cancer may involve:

    • open surgery through an incision in your stomach - the most common treatment for stomach cancer
    • laparoscopic or keyhole surgery through several small incisions in your stomach.

    The surgery is done while you’re asleep under general anaesthetic and you’ll need to avoid food and drink for a few hours before your surgery. No two treatment plans are the same. We take a patient-focused approach to determine what treatment is best. Our skilled multidisciplinary team is on hand to help you make important decisions, so you get the right treatment.

  • After surgery icon plus

    You’ll probably feel drowsy when you wake up and you may have several tubes in your body. These can be uncomfortable, but nurses will be on hand to offer pain relief.

    It’s important to eat small, regular amounts after surgery. Your consultant will provide advice about this. If you had keyhole surgery the cuts are smaller, so your recovery is likely to be quicker than with open surgery, which is a more complex operation.

    Any scar you have will depend on the operation you had. For example, you might have one vertical scar, an upside-down V shape on your tummy or one on your chest. We’re here to answer any questions and support you through your recovery.

Our stomach cancer specialists

We're proud to work with leading experts gastroenterologists and gastric surgeons who are experienced in diagnosing and treating stomach cancer, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex gastric surgery to straightforward gastroenterology procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Contact us about our GI services

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced GI consultants.

Call us on:

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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