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Overview of cancer treatments Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment

Surgery is a primary treatment for early and some

locoregional stomach cancers. Primary treatment is

the main treatment used to rid the body of cancer.

The goal of surgery is to remove the entire tumor

and some normal-looking tissue around its rim. The

normal-looking tissue is called the surgical margin. A

margin width of 4 cm or greater is advised.

You will be given instructions on how to prepare for

your surgery. The week before your surgery you may

have to stop taking some medicines. On the day of

your surgery, you should not eat or drink. General

anesthesia will be used. In some people, general

anesthesia causes nausea with vomiting, confusion,

muscle aches, and itching.


A gastrectomy is a surgery that removes some or all

of the stomach.

See Figure 11.

The stomach tumor

may have grown into nearby structures. In this case,

the stomach and other tissue should be removed

together and not in pieces. Removal of your spleen is

not required unless cancer is present.

How much of your stomach will be removed depends

on the extent of the cancer. A total gastrectomy

removes your whole stomach. A subtotal gastrectomy

removes part of your stomach. A distal gastrectomy

is a subtotal gastrectomy of the lower half of your

stomach. A proximal gastrectomy is a subtotal

gastrectomy of the upper half of your stomach.


NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016

Illustration Copyright © 2014 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

Figure 11.


A gastrectomy removes some or

all of your stomach. Any nearby

structures that have been invaded

by the tumor will be removed, too.

During surgery, some lymph nodes

will be removed and tested for


Illustration Copyright © 2016 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.