Stomach Cancer Treatment

Stomach Cancer Treatment


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Treatment Choices by Type and Stage of Stomach Cancer

Treatment options you have, in case you are dealing with stomach cancer, depend largely on the degree as well as the location of the tumor in the stomach (the starting point from which it started to develop) and the areas it has already invaded in.

Stage 0 of the Cancer

Since on this stage the cancer is only spread within the inner lining layer of your stomach and it hasn’t invaded in any deeper tissues, it’s possible to get rid of it only with the help of the surgical operation. There is no need to undergo radiation and chemo therapy sessions.

As for the surgical operation, there may be either a gastrectomy (implying the removal of one part of the stomach) or total gastrectomy (implying removal of the entire stomach) carried out. The lymph nodes that are located nearby are to be removed as well.

In some cases, the cancer on this stage is possible to cure with the help of endoscopic resection. The procedure means that your tumor will be removed through an endoscope that’s passed down your throat. Most often, this procedure is the one that is chosen by the patients in Japan due to the fact that the tumor is very often detected there on the early stage when screening is carried out. In the US this situation doesn’t happen very often. Therefore, the treatment is very often not an option there. You should undergo it at a special center where doctors are very experienced at working with the technique necessary to carry it out.

Stage 1 of the Cancer

Stage IA means that you have to either have the cancer removed by total or subtotal gastrectomy. The lymph nodes located nearby are as well to be removed. Endoscopic resection, in the majority of cases, is not possible. After the surgery, there is, as a rule, no need to undergo any additional procedures.

Stage IB where the main treatment option is a surgical operation (total or subtotal gastrectomy). Chemotherapy sessions and chemoradiation (a combination of chemotherapy and radiation) may be prescribed before the surgical operation with the view of making the tumor smaller and, thus, easier to remove.

After the surgical operation, those patients whose lymph nodes were removed during the surgical operation have no symptoms that imply the possible spread of the cancer. In some cases, no further treatment is prescribed. However, very often, doctors recommend undergoing either chemoradiation or only chemotherapy. This is very often true for those who didn’t undergo any of them before the surgical operation was carried out. Those who were prescribed chemotherapy before the surgical operation, may be prescribed the same one (excluding radiation) after it.

If there is cancer detected in your lymph nodes, you may be prescribed a chemotherapy, a radiation therapy or a combination of both.

If the surgical operation is impossible (due to the patient being too weak from other diseases), he or she may be prescribed chemoradiation if it can be tolerated. As for other options, they are radiation therapy and chemotherapy alone.

Stage 2 of the Cancer

Stomach Cancer Treatment 1

The main treatment option on this stage is a surgical operation the aim of which is to remove all of the stomach or only part of it, the omentum and the lymph nodes located nearby. Many patients are prescribed chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy before the operation is carried out so that to make the tumor smaller and easier to remove. As for the treatment recommended after the operation, it may be chemotherapy alone or chemoradiation.

If the surgical operation is impossible (due to the patient being too weak from other diseases), he or she may be prescribed chemoradiation if it can be tolerated. As for other options, they are radiation therapy and chemotherapy alone.

Stage 3 of the Cancer

Here, a surgical operation is the main treatment (if only the patient is not too weak due to other diseases). In some cases, a surgical operation is possible to combine with other treatment procedures while in other cases only a surgical operation is possible. It is carried out either to help keep the cancer under control or relieve the symptoms.

Some patients are prescribed chemo or chemoradiation before the surgical operation so that to make the tumor smaller and easier to remove. Those who are prescribed chemo before the surgical operation are very likely to be prescribed it after the operation. Those who don’t undergo chemo before the operation and those who have some cancer left after the operation is carried out, are prescribed some treatment procedures. Usually, it’s chemoradiation.

If the surgical operation is impossible (due to the patient being too weak from other diseases), he or she may be prescribed chemoradiation if it can be tolerated. As for other options, they are radiation therapy and chemotherapy alone.

Stage 4 of the Cancer

Stomach Cancer Treatment 2

Since on this stage the tumor has already invaded in your distant organs, there is, usually, no way to get rid of it. However, you are still provided treatment with the view of keeping the cancer under control and relieving your symptoms. The list of options may include a surgical operation. For example, a gastric bypass or a subtotal gastrectomy the aim of which is to keep your stomach and/or intestines safe from becoming blocked or to control bleeding.

Sometimes, a laser beam is directed through an endoscope (a long, flexible tube passed down your throat) so that to kill most of the tumor and relieve the obstruction without a surgical operation. If there is a need, a stent (a hollow metal tube) may be put to where the esophagus and stomach meet so that to help keeping it open and make it possible for the food to pass through it. The same can be done at the junction of the stomach and the small intestine.

Chemo and/or radiation therapy may be helpful when the aim is to shrink the tumor, relieve the symptoms and give the patients an opportunity to live a longer life. However, it’s not expected to cure the patient. As a rule, a combination of chemo drugs is used. It can’t be said for sure which ones are the best.

Targeted therapy may as well be an option when dealing with the advanced stage of the cancer. Trastuzumab (also called Herceptin) may be added to chemo in case of those patients who have HER2-positive tumors. Ramucirumab (also called Cyramza) may turn out to be helpful as well. It can be either given by itself or added to chemo.

Since the cancer is quite difficult to treat on this stage, new treatments that are being tested at clinical trials may be advantageous in case of some patients.

If the treatments fail to destroy or make the rumor smaller, there are ways to relieve your pain and symptoms caused by the disease. You are to talk any symptoms or pain they cause over with cancer care team as soon as possible. This way an adequate treatment may relieve them.

Nutrition is one more area of concern for those diagnosed with the disease. You can get any help you may need from nutritional counseling to the placement of a tube inside the small intestine so that to help provide nutrition if a patient has troubles consuming food.

Cases of the Disease Recurrence

Recurrence means that your cancer comes back after treatment. In such a case, the treatment options you have are, generally, the same that you have if dealing with the 4th stage of the cancer. However, the treatment options also depend largely on the place where the cancer recurs, what treatment were used previously and the overall state of your health.

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