Early surgical techniques were radical, removing both the cancer and surrounding healthy tissue, often resulting in long recovery times, life-changing disability, and in some cases, severe cosmetic disfigurement. Today's surgical techniques and technologies are more precise with fewer complications. Women with early-stage breast cancer can now avoid disfiguring mastectomies, people with colon and rectal cancer can maintain their bowel function, and men with prostate cancer can often avoid incontinence and loss of sexual function.
Researchers begin to utilize this minimally invasive surgical procedure for "staging" of gastric cancer patients. Laparoscopy is found to be roughly as effective as more invasive approaches, but requires a much smaller incision and allows an easier and shorter recovery time for patients. With laparoscopy, a surgeon inserts a thin, lighted tube through a small incision to examine the abdominal organs.
As surgeons become more adept with the technique, many patients with gastric cancer are able to be surgically treated using laparoscopy, which is far less invasive than traditional open surgery on the stomach.