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Surgery for Stomach Cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi my name is Linda, my 51 yr orl mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer three days ago. Doctors want to have surgery in two weeks. My mother does not want to go through the surgery. If anyone has information regarding the pros and cons of having the whole stomach removed and the side effects & complications please advice. If anyone has had this done and would like to share with me your experience and have some advice or suggestions. Please help me. My mother means the world to me and the stats the doctor gives in terms of survival rate after this surgery are not too good. Please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mrbt's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi. I am a survivor of esophageal cancer. Part of my stomach was removed and I have very little stomach function.

If the cancer has not spread outside of the stomach then it is possible to survive without a stomach. Usually the doctors will do a whole battery of tests to determine if the cancer is localized or not. If localized then surgery is an option.

Living without a stomach is possible and I am doing fine 3 years after surgery. My diet and life style have changed but I can lead a normal life and enjoy my wife and family. I was 52 when diagnosed. The survival rate for stage 3 esophageal cancer is low but I am still here. You can't look at the statistics and decide.

Get a second opinion and find out who is the best (most experienced) doctor in your area for this procedure. Talk to him/her. Do your home work. Support your mom and treat her like normal (she is still the same person).

You are at war with cancer and so you need to help your mom find that inner courage to fight and win (mom's have a special strength that they find when threatened).

It takes time to deal with all of the emotions she is facing. Just be there for her.

Good luck and God Bless, Bruce

mrbt's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi. I sent a message yesterday. Regarding the pros and cons is based on the prognosis, i.e. is this a potential cure or only a step to prolong life. If its a potential cure then go for it, if a cure is not possible then its a quality of life issue and your mother has to make that decision.

As for the side effects and complications you should talk to a qualified diet expert. Someone who has dealt with this type of post surgery requirement. In the mean time I can offer this. First, go online and search for "dumping syndrome". Persons without stomachs fall into this catagory. Second, I can only offer information from my experiences and everyone is different.

After surgery a persons eating habits have to change. Most persons eat 6 to 8 small meals per day. Liquids and solids have to be separated. I drink approx 15 min before I eat solids and then don't drink again for approx 30 min. Sounds bad but now that I am use to it it's not so bad. Some foods don't work anymore and I have learned what works and what doesn't. It's a matter of experiment. Generally, spicy foods, fatty foods, red meat, milk/cream don't work well. Pasta and veggies work good. Chicken is great.

I lost approx 30 lbs after surgery and have gained back 10 lbs.

I quit working after surgery. I did go back however after nine months I couldn't keep up with the physical demands. Fatigue can be a problem however with a daily nap and reduced physical stress I do just fine. I was director of marketing and sales but since "retiring" I have taken up wood working and love it.

Before surgery get all the facts and help your mom make an informed decision not an emotional one. When first diagnosed a person sort of goes into overload. It takes some time to come to grips with it.

Some people are very strong and don't need much help "putting on their armor" but many people need professional help. I don't know you or your mom so you need to determine if she is a strong willed person or needs some help. I asked people to pray for me and was on many prayer lists. It helped and I am not religious. I talked to other cancer patients and it helped. I trusted my doctors. I wanted to live for my wife and sons.

I you want to talk to me or my wife please call at (408)272-7439 or email to "triebold@telocity.com"

Don't go it alone, you have many friends you haven't even met yet.

Regards, Bruce and Dee

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2001

I had my stomach and spleen removed 20 months ago and have had little problems. I had what is known as a Hunt-Lawrence pouch built from intestines and since the operation I have been eating everything I want to. The only catch is to chew excessively and eat multiple small meals. After chemotherapy I returned to work within 6 months of the surgery. I encourage the surgery. If I did not have the surgery I was given 3 months to live. God Bless.

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

Linda, I do not know if your mom had surgery, (I just found this web) but , I want to tell you, my stomach was completly removed almost five years ago, I have had good days and bad , more good ones...I had chemo and radiation.. there are a lot of side effects, but I have managed to live a very nornal life. I know about the survival rate the Dr, gives. I hope your mom had the surgery.. I am thankful that I did. T.P.

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2004

My dad was diagnosed with stomach and colon cancer in March '04. He had a total gastrectomy and part of his colon removed in March and has since been going through chemo/radiation. It has been over 4 weeks since he's had any treatment and he feels so bad that they have postponed his chemo that was supposed to resume a week and a half ago. He is so sick, has lost 65 pounds and can not eat or drink anything. He is 62 years old. He has been on TPN foe a few weeks now as he was dehydrated and showing signs of starvation. Is it normal for him to feel SO lousy when he hasn't had treatment in so long???? Will he ever feel better??? The doctors don't seem to know why he's so sick. Can anyone help??

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi, I am 45 and was diagnosed advanced stomach cancer in January, 2012 and underwent subtotal radical gastrectomy (surgery with partial - 85% - removal of stomach)immediately. I was discharged after 11 days of hospitalistion. I started receiving chemotherapy cylcles in the next month and three cycles completed. Three more chemo cylcles may be required.

I am taking diet (solid and liquids)however, in reduced quantity. My weight is stable. After third cycle chemo I am back to work.

Though there is uncertainity still looms around regarding survival rate, complete cure and risk of recurrence - I am not frustrated. Feeling better and relieved of symptoms of pre-diagnosis.

Lot of people arround us living without stomach (visit:http://www.nostomachforcancer.org)or partial stomach to set examples for many people like me.

Complications and side effects can be faced.

I suggest your mother to have gastrectomy - if not already had - without much thinking.

Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2012

Good morning, I read your post. Can you tell me if you surgery can be done on stage 4 stomach cancer. My friend from South Africa is currently diagnosed stage 4, dr doesn't want to do gastrectomy. Cancer didn't spread to organs. He finished with chemo session nr 7. Any advice please.

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