Gastric cancer is slow growing and takes time to develop. It can grow for a number of years without being detected. This type of cancer occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the lining of your stomach. The average risk for a person to develop stomach cancer is about 1 in 111. It is higher for men than women because of other factors.
Stomach cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage because there are usually no early symptoms. Treatment depends on how far the cancer has spread and where it is located in the stomach. Surgery is one of the main treatments for this type of cancer. Read on to find out how gastric cancer is treated with a total gastrectomy.
What Is Removed?
There are usually two reasons why your doctor may recommend a total gastrectomy. The surgery is done when the cancer has spread throughout your stomach. It is also recommended when the cancer is in the upper part of your stomach or near your esophagus.
A total gastrectomy is an in-depth surgery. It removes your entire stomach, omentum, and nearby lymph nodes. Your doctor may also remove your spleen and parts of your pancreas, intestine, and esophagus.
How Does It Affects Your Eating?
Your doctor connects the end of your esophagus to part of your small intestine. The esophagus normally connects your throat to your stomach. This technique allows your food to go down your intestinal tract. It allows means you will not eat as much food at one time. You will have to eat several small meals to get your nutrients and to get full.
What Happens After Surgery?
A total gastrectomy takes around four to five hours. This procedure requires you to stay in the hospital for seven to 10 days. You are also not allowed to eat for the first three to five days.
The changes made during surgery need time to heal and seal. If not, a leakage can occur where the small intestine has been connected to your esophagus. Before you can resume eating and drinking, your doctor will have to do an X-ray to check for leaks.
It is hard to find out that you have cancer, but it is not the end of the world. You should talk to your doctor about cancer treatment. Total gastrectomy removes the cancer from your body, which means there is a lesser chance of it coming back.