Doctor's Answers (1)
It all boils down to staging, how advanced they are.
Stage 1 is very good, we do the surgery straight away, we don’t even do chemotherapy. We do the surgery, it’s clear, you don’t have to do chemo afterwards. From that point of view, their recovery is very fast. They eat a little less because we just cut two-thirds of the stomach away. Most people after 2-3 months, they’re more or less back to normal. We just keep an eye on them over the next 5 years or so.
Stage 2 is a little more advanced, the cancer has gone through the layers of the stomach more. In those cases, we may or may not get chemotherapy. As I mentioned, chemo is a treatment that affects someone really badly. So if after the surgery you need chemo, the recovery is a bit more prolonged. Plus the surgery is a big operation, about 4-5 hours, even with keyhole surgery.
Stage 3 is when we give them chemotherapy, surgery, followed by more chemotherapy. So the recovery is much slower, it’s a tougher journey. But for those who do recover, after 3-6 months they’ll be back to normal and live a full life. But of course, with most cancers, we have to really keep an eye out for the next 5 years and make sure the cancer doesn’t come back.
Stage 4, unfortunately, is the stage where it’s more about managing their symptoms. Managing symptoms such as vomiting, losing weight, and pain. It’s, unfortunately, a heavy burden for families to deal with, not just for the patient but their family members as well. It’s lots of things to deal with, and we involve a lot of specialists to deal with different areas of care.