Gastrointestinal surgery

Also known as: Gastrointestinal cancer surgery, Gastric cancer surgery, Gastrectomy, Subtotal gastrectomy, Total gastrectomy

Surgery is a common treatment of all stages of gastric cancer. The following types of surgery may be used:

  • Subtotal gastrectomy: Removal of the part of the stomach that contains cancer, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of other tissues and organs near the tumor. The spleen may be removed. The spleen is an organ in the upper abdomen that filters the blood and removes old blood cells.
  • Total gastrectomy: Removal of the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of the esophagus, small intestine, and other tissues near the tumor. The spleen may be removed. The esophagus is connected to the small intestine so the patient can continue to eat and swallow.

If the tumor is blocking the stomach but the cancer cannot be completely removed by standard surgery, the following procedures may be used:

  • Endoluminal stent placement: A procedure to insert a stent (a thin, expandable tube) to keep a passage such as arteries or the esophagus open. For tumors blocking the passage into or out of the stomach, surgery may be done to place a stent from the esophagus to the stomach or from the stomach to the small intestine to allow the patient to eat normally.
  • Endoluminal laser therapy: A procedure in which an endoscope (a thin, lighted tube) with a laser attached is inserted into the body. A laser is an intense beam of light that can be used as a knife.

Providence Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Cancer Program serves patients with liver and pancreatic diseases including disorders of the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas. Surgical procedures for these diseases are usually advanced and complicated. Special training and skill is required to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.  

Recommended Resource

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society’s home page with links to all types of cancer, symptoms, treatment options, statistics trials and ways to contribute.