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Gastric/Stomach Cancer

Minimally invasive treatment for stomach cancer

Digestive Health Institute surgeons Dr. Alexander Rosemurgy and Dr. Sharona Ross are experienced in minimally invasive surgery to treat stomach, or gastric, cancer. A large majority of stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, caused by chronic inflammation of the stomach, a condition called gastritis. This condition is commonly seen with people infected with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Gastric cancer is also more common in people who eat a lot of smoked and salted meat and pickled foods. Smoking, obesity and previously having had gastric surgery are other factors that appear to contribute to stomach cancer.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

At first stomach cancer rarely has symptoms, so it is not often detected early before it has spread to other parts of the body.

Gastric cancer symptoms are similar to those of many digestive disorders and can include:

  • Poor appetite and resulting weight loss
  • Stomach pain or discomfort above the belly button
  • Feeling full soon after beginning eating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Dark or bloody stools
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)

Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

If it is suspected that you might have gastric cancer or another stomach condition, your gastroenterologist will likely order some tests such as:

  • An upper endoscopy to get a better look.
  • An endoscopic ultrasound if a gastric tumor is discovered. This will be used along with fine needle aspiration to take samples of cells.
  • A pathologist will study the cell sample under a microscope to determine if the tumor is cancerous. If so, the biologic characteristics of the cancer cells will be studied, as they could help determine what the best treatment might be.
  • Additional imaging studies to make sure all tumors have been detected.
  • Minimally invasive, exploratory surgery may be required by some patients to make sure the cancer is confined to the stomach before beginning treatment.

Surgical Treatments for Stomach Cancer at AdventHealth Tampa

For gastric cancers that have not spread beyond the stomach, a procedure called a gastrectomy is the standard treatment. This involves removing a portion or all of the stomach. The stomach will be reconstructed from other parts of the digestive tract so that it will be able to function in as normal a manner as possible.

Dr. Rosemurgy and Dr. Ross are experts at performing less invasive surgery for this type of situation. Instead of a large incision through skin and muscle that is made in conventional surgeries, they make just one incision through the belly button. As you could expect, recovery from this less invasive procedure is much faster. This is particularly important for patients with cancer who may need radiation therapy after they recover from surgery.

After gastric surgery, you might feel fuller sooner while eating. This is because the part of your digestive tract used to create a stomach will be much smaller than your previous stomach. Also, your digestive tract will be shorter, so food will have a faster transit and you will likely need to use the bathroom more often. Removing all or part of your stomach may result in iron deficiency or anemia, so you may need oral or IV supplements. Finally, you may find the need to avoid meals high in carbohydrates or sugar, as these can cause abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and flushing after your surgery.



At DHI, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within 5 business days, and often earlier. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer recurrence, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer of the digestive system, don’t wait.
Call the Digestive Health Institute at (813) 615-7440.

Learn more about our Surgical Cancer Care program.

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