WHat Are the Risks of Stomach Cancer Surgery?

Risks of stomach cancer surgery depend on your nutrition, current health, the anaesthetic and the operation itself. Complications can occur after gastrectomy, particularly nutrition.

Select A Topic:

  • Nutrition - a very important part in determining risk
  • Anaesthetic - anaesthesia always remains a potential issue

Risks of Stomach Cancer Surgery

Nutrition Risk

Patients with gastric cancer often have nutritional issues. This is usually due to the cancer itself as well as the early satiety caused by the tumor. The stomach has a finite capacity and a tumor makes your stomach less capacious for food.

An operation is a stressful event on your body and requires a lot of energy. Using up energy results in weight loss and the average person undergoing gastrectomy will lose on average

Any nutritional issues you may have will need addressing before your operation and a dietician will be involved with this. They will ensure that you increase your calorie intake through both your diet as well as nutritional supplements.

Concurrent Health

There are numerous conditions that increase your risks of stomach cancer surgery.

I have provided a list of a few below, but ultimately this will be assessed by your surgeon:

Increased Stomach Cancer Surgery Risks

Heart Disease


Ischaemic heart disease, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy

Lung disease


COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia

Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 and Type 2


Primary and Secondary

Blood clotting disorders 

Haemophilia, Von Willibrand Disease

Liver Diseases


Cirrhosis, Hepatitis


All the above health problems increase your anaesthetic risk. Other anaesthetic problems include:

List of Anaesthetic Problems

Anaphylaxis or allergy to drugs

Nausea and vomiting

Muscle aches

Dizziness or feeling light headed

Sore throat

Damage to teeth


Pneumothorax or collapsed lung

Awareness During Your Procedure



There are various complications from stomach cancer surgery. The most common ones include:

List of Risks Of Stomach Cancer Surgery

Wound infection

Bleeding – both primary (at the time of your op) and secondary (following op)

Wound dehiscence – the wound breaks open

Blood Clots

Peritonitis from a surgical site leak

Blockage – either at the anastomosis (join) or in the esophagus from reflux damage causing a stricture

There is also an increased mortality or death rate from surgery. The rate varies from one centre to another although the average is 1 in 50 from complications.

It’s important to ask your surgeon for his/her death rates to make an informed decision.

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