Surgery is an important treatment, especially for early stomach cancer. It should only be carried out by specialist surgeons. It isn’t available in all hospitals, so you may need to go to a different hospital to have it done.
Even when the cancer has spread outside the stomach to the surrounding area, it may still be possible to remove it. This involves major surgery and some people may not be physically well enough to have it. You need to talk to your surgeon about the benefits and risks of this operation before making a decision about it.
Most people need treatment with chemotherapy as well as an operation. Sometimes, surgery may be the only treatment that’s needed. This is usually when stomach cancer is diagnosed at the earliest possible stage. Or it may be because having chemotherapy and surgery would be too intensive and hard to cope with.
The operation you have depends on where the cancer is in the stomach and its size. You may have all or part of the stomach removed. The surgeon also takes away an area of healthy tissue around the cancer to try to make sure all the cancer cells are gone. They also remove nearby lymph nodes and the fatty tissue called the omentum that covers the stomach and the front of the bowel.
Depending on the position of the cancer and how far it has spread, the surgeon may remove part of some nearby organs. This may include the lower part of the gullet (oesophagus), the upper part of the small bowel (duodenum) and occasionally the spleen or part of the pancreas.