Gastric Cancer is uncommon in Australia but is more common in places such as Japan and Korea. The biggest risk factor in Australia is infection with Helicobacter pylori which is the bacteria that has been shown to cause stomach ulcers. The most common type of gastric cancer is adenocarcinoma which makes up about 95% of cases. The remaining 5% of cases are made up from a variety of other types.
The symptoms of gastric cancer tend to be fairly vague and the diagnosis is made with a gastroscopy (telescope test with a camera passed down the gullet) and a biopsy. The definitive treatment for gastric cancer is surgery, however chemotherapy may play a role in treatment before, after or instead of an operation.
Gastrectomy is the removal of all or part of the cancer-affected stomach along with the lymph nodes where cancer tends to spread to first. The digestive system is then reconstructed by bringing the small intestine up to the remaining oesophagus or upper stomach so that food can pass through the digestive tract.