Treatment

There are several treatment options for stomach cancer, depending on the cancer stage and the patient’s age and general health. Patients have time for second opinions and to talk through all of their options with their doctors and develop a treatment plan that best fits their needs. Many patients have one or more of the following:

Surgery - This is the most common treatment for stomach cancer. There are two main types of surgery for stomach cancer:

Partial (subtotal) Gastrectomy:
The surgeon removes part of the stomach and may also remove part of the esophagus or small intestine, nearby lymph nodes, and other tissues.

Total Gastrectomy: The surgeon removes the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, parts of the small intestine and esophagus, and other tissues. The spleen may also be removed in this surgery. The surgeon connects the esophagus to the small intestine and makes a new “stomach” from intestinal tissue.

Radiation Therapy - A large machine directs radiation at the abdomen and uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be given alone or with chemotherapy, surgery, or both. It is used to destroy cancer cells that remain after surgery and to relieve pain caused by cancer.

Chemotherapy - This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In patients with stomach cancer, chemotherapy is given alone, with surgery, radiation, or both. Most often, drugs are injected into the veins.

Follow-up care after treatment for stomach cancer is an important part of the overall treatment plan. Even when there are no longer any signs of cancer, the disease sometimes returns because undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in the body after treatment.

Social networking and online support groups are important tools. Reaching out to others who have or have had similar experiences can provide you with valuable insights. Check out Cancer Support Community's The Living Room for more information on clinically facilitated support online. 

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