Rockingham resident has stomach removed to avoid cancer

Rockingham resident has stomach removed to avoid cancer

EMMA Payne was just 23-years-old when she had surgery to remove her stomach, but it was a decision that potentially saved her life.

After tests detected pre-cancerous cells in her stomach lining due to a genetic condition known as Gastric Adenocarcinoma Proximal Polyposis Syndrome (GAPPS), she knew an operation was the right move.

“After I was told that I had pre-cancerous cells it was a pretty instant decision,” she said.

“My surgeon gave me a week to think about it and do some research before he would book me in for the surgery.

“But I had made up my mind pretty much from the diagnosis appointment.”

The Rockingham resident (25) is not alone, with her entire family carrying a rare gene that causes a deadly form of stomach cancer.

Many of Ms Payne’s relatives have had the surgery to completely remove their stomachs.

“I have heard that there are about 35 family members – some close but most distantly related – who have had the surgery,” she said.

“For some it was easy and others very difficult.

“My sister and nephew have also had the surgery and my niece is due to have the surgery in 2017.”

Ms Payne, an employee at Acton Coogee, admitted her recovery was long and painful but she had adjusted.

“The big change that I have had to make is eating very small portions,” she said.

“I have to take a number of vitamin supplements daily, quarterly B12 injections and six-monthly iron infusions.

“The main issue after having your stomach removed is your body struggles to absorb nutrients and vitamins.”

Ms Payne will be one of thousands taking part in a global work on November 5 to raise awareness and money for medical research into stomach cancer.

The 3km No Stomach for Cancer walk will begin at Central Park in the Perth CBD at 11am.

“Money raised by this year’s walk will go directly towards funding a 2016-17 research grant of $100,000,” Ms Payne said.

“This money will be crucial to helping find a cure or at least better treatment options for those diagnosed.”

For information or to donate to Team Perth’s effort visit www.nostomachforcancer.org or search No Stomach For Cancer – Team Perth on Facebook.

– AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller – “Approximately 2000 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer in Australia every year and it affects twice as many men as it does women.”

“The causes are unknown, however smoking, Helicobacter infection, over consumption of alcohol and a poor diet are some of the things that may increase your risk of stomach cancer.

“Due to the lack of symptoms it is a difficult cancer to pick up early, however early symptoms include indigestion or a painful, burning sensation in the abdomen. “Treatment can include surgery to remove part or all of the stomach, as well as chemotherapy pre-surgery and post-surgery.

“The road to recovery can be a difficult one, and eating can be a challenge for post-operative patients.

“Many people suffer from a loss in appetite, acid reflux that causes heartburn and nausea as well as difficulty coping with the required dietary changes.