Weight Loss, Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery

Upper Gastrointestinal, Oesophageal & Stomach Surgery

Endoscopy / Gastroscopy & Colonoscopy

Keyhole and General Surgery

Cancer Screening Emergency and Acute Care Surgery

Stomach Cancer Surgery


What is Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)?

Stomach cancer (or gastric cancer) develops when cells in the stomach grow and divide without stopping. Over time, they can grow into cancerous tumours.

While the cause of the disease is unknown, certain disorders can raise one’s risk. They include Helicobacter Pylori infection, ulcers, polyps and inflammation of the gut known as gastritis

How Common is Stomach Cancer?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stomach cancer is the 3rd deadliest cancer worldwide. In Singapore, it is the 4th and 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in men and women respectively, claiming about 300 lives each year.

In majority of cases, stomach cancer is only diagnosed in the later stages. Hence, it is crucial to go for early screening, or consult a doctor for symptoms relating to the stomach or abdomen

Who is at risk?

What are the symptoms?

Stomach cancer often may not indicate symptoms or signs. When symptoms occur, they may be vague and can include those listed below. Some of these symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses, including stomach ulcers, or Helicobacter Pylori infection.

Can Stomach Cancer be prevented?

Go for early screening. Early detection of gastric cancer can be curative with surgery. This will lead to a more successful outcome and better survival.

Here are some ways you can reduce your risk factors:

Stomach cancer is curable if diagnosed at an early stage.

Get your endoscopy done with Dr. Tan Chun Hai.

Diagnosis & Treatment

How is Stomach Cancer Detected?

An endoscopy/gastroscopy is the most common way of detecting abnormalities within the stomach. This is carried out by inserting a thin flexible tube through the mouth which gives your doctor an internal view of your upper gastrointestinal tract.

This procedure is done with sedation. If there are polyps detected, they will be removed. Should there be tumours, a Biopsy and CT scan is then carried out to confirm the presence of cancer cells.

Another way of detecting stomach cancer is by using GASTROClear™. This is the first approved miRNA-based biomarker for early detection of gastric cancer that can be used in conjunction with endoscopy. Dr. Tan offers GASTROClear™ in his practice.

What is the Treatment for Stomach Cancer?

Depending on the situation and stage of the disease, stomach cancer can be treated with surgery, endoscopic therapy and, chemotherapy and raditherapy. Surgery is considered the most important treatment for stomach cancer at all stages (and especially when the cancer is still contained within the stomach).

This procedure is known as a Gastrectomy, which consists of 2 types:

Partial Gastrectomy is where the lower portion of stomach is removed and the remaining stomach is connected to the small intestine.

Total Gastrectomy is where the whole stomach is removed and the oesophagus is connected to the small intestine.

Surgery Types, Open or Keyhole Procedure

A Gastrectomy can be carried out through standard open surgery or laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery. Whereas an open surgery requires long incisions made in the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery only requires small incisions and is carried out with the use of specialised keyhole instruments.

Because the procedure is less invasive, keyhole surgery offers the advantage of having smaller wounds, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery. At Surgicare, Dr Tan specialises in providing keyhole surgery when surgical repair is needed and where applicable.

20+ Years of Clinical Experience

Dr Tan Chun Hai (陈俊海医生)

Dr Tan Chun Hai


Upper Gastrointestinal, Bariatric & General Surgeon

Dr. Tan Chun Hai is a dual fellowship-trained surgeon in laparoscopic (keyhole) stomach cancer surgery and bariatric & metabolic surgery. His clinical expertise includes the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques for gallbladder diseases, appendicitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Dr. Tan is also well-versed in specialised diagnostic procedures, regularly carrying out endoscopy/gastroscopy and colonoscopy for his patients. When applicable, Dr. Tan provides same-day treatment within a few hours of diagnosis. Dr. Tan subscribes to a less invasive practice, enabling shorter hospital stays, usually within 1-2 days.

Patients’ Feedback

Have a concern?

Give us a call at 6250 5610 or whatsapp us at 8870 3848.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Colorectal polyps are abnormal growth of cells on the inner lining of the colon and rectum. They are common and incidence increases with age.
  • Most polyps are benign (not cancer). But because polyps are caused by abnormal cell growth and, like cancer, grow through rapidly dividing cells, they can become cancerous.
  • Through a colonoscopy, the polyp can be removed and sent for examination by a pathologist. Colonoscopy and removal of polyps decreases the incidence of colorectal cancer. Countries with colorectal cancer screening programs have reported a significant drop in colorectal cancer cases and deaths. This is due to early detection of colorectal polyps with colonoscopy, the removal of which prevents the development of cancer.

People with first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) who have had stomach cancer are more likely to develop this disease. Most people who get stomach cancer do not have a family history of it. You should get a screening gastroscopy.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found.

The average 5-year survival rate for people with stomach cancer is 32%. 62% of patients are diagnosed with stomach cancer when cancer cells are already spread beyond the stomach organ. If stomach cancer is found before it has spread, the 5-year survival rate is generally higher but that depends on the stage of the cancer found during surgery.

If the cancer is diagnosed and treated before it has spread outside the stomach, the 5-year survival rate is 70%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 32%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 6%.

While surgery is considered the primary treatment option for all stages of stomach cancers, there are other treatment options that may be deployed by your specialist team:

Endoscopic therapy involves the removal of tumors via Gastroscopy, without the need for surgery. Endoscopic therapy is usually only applicable for stomach cancer in the early stages and recommended by your surgeon on a case-by-case basis.

Dr. Tan also works closely with a team of medical oncologists and radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer care for his patients. Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells and slow down the growth of tumors. Radiotherapy on the other hand, uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in the affected area of the body.