Types Of Chemotherapy Used To Treat Stomach Cancer
Your chemotherapy treatment will depend on the type of stomach cancer, its stage and your general health. You will take the medicine by mouth or by vein . You might get one or more medications at different points during treatment.
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy : Studies have shown that patients with locally advanced stomach cancer have improved survival if they have chemotherapy before surgery, sometimes with radiation therapy. If you are receiving chemotherapy and radiation together, your care team will work with you to make sure you have nutritional support, since the treatment can cause nausea, and significant weight loss.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy : If your stomach cancer is more advanced, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy after surgery as part of the overall treatment plan.
Chemotherapy may also be an appropriate treatment for those with advanced stomach cancer that cannot be treated with surgery.
What Is Stomach Cancer
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can then spread to other areas of the body. To learn more about cancer and how it starts and spreads, see What Is Cancer?
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, begins when cells in the stomach start to grow out of control.
Dumping Syndrome Dumping Syndrome Occurs When Food Moves Too Quickly From The Stomach Into The Small Intestine This May Occur After Surgery For Stomach Cancer If All Or Part Of The Stomach Has Been Removed Dumping Syndrome Can Lead To Nausea And Vomiting Diarrhea Sweating And Becoming Flushed After Eating These Symptoms Usually Get Better Over Time
- American Cancer Society. Stomach Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society 2014: .
- Cancer Research UK. Stomach cancer. Reviewed ed. Cancer Research UK 2014.
- Macmillan Cancer Support. Dietary problems after surgery for stomach cancer. London, UK: Macmillan Cancer Support 2013: .
- Mickle M. Stomach cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. . Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett 2011: 67: pp. 1683-1695.
- What You Need to Know About Stomach Cancer.
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Gastric Cancer . National Comprehensive Cancer Network 2014.
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Avoid Nitrate Containing Food Products
Nitrates are naturally present in the environment. It is commonly found in soil, air, surface water, and groundwater. It is also present in vegetables and plants. These nitrates that are present in foods convert into nitrites, which in turn can form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines can cause stomach cancer. Thus, it is recommended to avoid nitrate containing food products to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Supportive Care For Stomach Cancer
Supportive care helps people meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of stomach cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones, especially after treatment has ended.
Recovering from stomach cancer and adjusting to life after treatment is different for each person, depending on the extent of the disease, the type of treatment and many other factors. The end of cancer treatment may bring mixed emotions. Even though treatment has ended, there may be other issues to deal with, such as coping with long-term side effects. A person who has been treated for stomach cancer may have the following concerns.
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Stages Of Stomach Cancer
Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parts of the organ have cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome .
The most common staging system for stomach cancer is the TNM system. For stomach cancer there are 5 stages stage 0 followed by stages 1 to 4. Often the stages 1 to 4 are written as the Roman numerals I, II, III and IV. Generally, the higher the stage number, the more the cancer has spread. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about staging.
When describing the stage, doctors may use the words local, regional or distant. Local means that the cancer is only in the stomach and has not spread to other parts of the body. Regional means close to the stomach or around it. Distant means in a part of the body farther from the stomach.
Find out more about .
The stomach is made up of different layers of tissues. The stage often depends on which layer the tumour has grown into.
Tests For Stomach Cancer
Your doctor may do some tests to check for stomach cancer:
- Endoscopy a doctor passes a long, flexible tube with a light and small camera on the end into your mouth, down your throat and oesophagus, and into your stomach and small bowel. This allows the doctor to look inside your digestive tract to examine the lining.
- Biopsy during an endoscopy if the doctor sees any suspicious-looking areas they may remove a small amount of tissue from the stomach lining, known as a biopsy, a pathologist will then examine the tissue under a microscope to check for signs of disease.
- Endoscopic ultrasound a doctor passes an endoscope with an ultrasound probe on the end into your mouth, down your throat and oesophagus, and into your stomach and small bowel. The ultrasound probe then uses sound waves to create a picture of your stomach.
If these tests show you have stomach cancer you will then have some of the following tests to check your general health and to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body:
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Avoid High Protein Diet
Protein digesting enzymes like pancreatin can help your body in fighting against cancer. Pancreatin is a digestive protein and also helps in the digestion process. When you consume diet that is rich in protein content, the pancreatic enzymes will be busy in digesting protein and will get less time to concentrate on eradicating cancer.
Thus doctors recommend a protein-free diet that can help in stomach cancer cure.
Laser Therapy Or Stent
Laser therapy can be used to destroy tumors, stop bleeding, or alleviate a blockage in the stomach.
This can sometimes be accomplished without surgery.
The doctor inserts a long, flexible tube called an endoscope down the throat and into the stomach to deliver the laser beam. This is also called endoscopic tumor ablation.
Hollow tubes called stents can sometimes help. By placing a stent between the stomach and esophagus or between the stomach and small intestine, food will be able to pass through unobstructed.
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Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they’re not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
Having Another Type Of Cancer
For men, the risk of getting stomach cancer is increased after having prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer. For women, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases after having ovarian cancer, breast cancer or cervical cancer.
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Prognosis And Survival For Stomach Cancer
If you have stomach cancer, you may have questions about your prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors best estimate of how cancer will affect someone and how it will respond to treatment. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with your medical history, the type, stage and characteristics of your cancer, the treatments chosen and the response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.
A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together. They both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.
The following are prognostic factors for stomach cancer.
When Is Chemo Used For Stomach Cancer
Chemo might be used at different times to help treat stomach cancer:
- Chemo can be given before surgery for stomach cancer. This is known as neoadjuvant treatment. Neoadjuvant treatment can often shrink the tumor and possibly make surgery easier. It may also help keep the cancer from coming back and help patients live longer. For some stages of stomach cancer, neoadjuvant chemo is one of the standard treatment options. Often, chemo is then given again after surgery.
- Chemo may be given after surgery has been done to remove the cancer. This is called adjuvant treatment. The goal of adjuvant chemo is to kill any areas of cancer that may have been left behind but are too small to see. This can help keep the cancer from coming back. Often, for stomach cancer, chemo is given with radiation therapy after surgery. This may be especially helpful for cancers that could not be removed completely by surgery.
- Chemo may be given as the primary treatment if the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, or if it can’t be removed for some other reason. Chemo may help shrink the cancer or slow its growth, which can relieve symptoms and help people live longer.
Doctors give chemo in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Each cycle typically lasts for a few weeks.
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Biologic Therapy For Stomach Cancer
Biologic therapy is treatment with substances that are made naturally in the body or that can block the growth of cancer cells. This approach minimizes the side effects associated with traditional treatments like chemotherapy. Biologic therapies can help:
- Boost the body’s ability to fight the disease
- Direct the immune system to target diseased cells
- Strengthen a weakened immune system
Prognosis And Survival Rates Of Stomach Cancer
When someone is diagnosed with stomach cancer, their doctor will give them a prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors opinion of how likely it is that the cancer will spread and the chances of getting better. A prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the persons age and general health.
Generally, the earlier stomach cancer is diagnosed the better the chances of successful treatment. If the cancer is found after it has spread from the stomach, the prognosis is not usually as good.
If you have stomach cancer, your doctor will talk to you about your individual situation when working out your prognosis. Every persons experience is different, and there is support available to you.
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Testing For Other Conditions And Cancers
Individuals who have hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome and Lynch syndrome have a drastically increased risk of stomach cancer. Recognizing these and taking precautions after receiving a doctors advice can reduce the risk.
People with close family members who have had stomach cancer and those who had invasive lobular breast cancer before the age of 50 years might benefit from genetic testing.
If a test shows changes in the CDH1 gene, a doctor may recommend removing the stomach before cancer develops.
Current research is looking into the possible cancer links of chronic Helicobacter pylori infection in the stomach lining.
Early studies suggest that treating H. pylori infection with antibiotics can reduce the risk of stomach cancer, although further research is necessary.
Endoscopic Stomach Cancer Treatment Benefits
Doctors use both endoscopic resection and traditional surgery to provideeffective stomach cancer treatment. During a traditional, or open, surgicalresection, surgeons make an abdominal incision to access the stomach andremove all or part of the stomach as well as affected lymph nodes andtissue.
For patients with very early disease, Ngamruengphong says the less invasiveendoscopic resection can treat stomach cancer as safely and effectively astraditional surgery with multiple added benefits.
Patients who are candidates for an endoscopic resection can experience:
- Less pain after the procedure
- A shorter hospital stay
- A shorter recovery
- Similar survival and recurrence rates to surgery
Every cancer presents and acts differently. If youve been diagnosedwith stomach cancer, your doctor can help you determine which treatmentapproach is best for you.
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After A Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
After being diagnosed with a stomach cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. A diagnosis of a stomach or oesophageal cancer affects each person differently. For most it will be a difficult time, however some people manage to continue with their normal daily activities.
You may find it helpful to talk about your treatment options with your doctors, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you feel you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.
Learn more about best stomach cancer care:
What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Stomach Cancer
The outlook for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the cancer. People in the early stages of stomach cancer have a much greater rate of survival than those at a later stage:
- If stomach cancer is found in its earliest stage and can be removed with an endoscope, the five-year survival rate is higher than 90 percent.
- If the cancer is found after it has spread to areas surrounding the stomach, the five-year survival rate is 28 percent.
- If the cancer has spread to areas beyond those surrounding the stomach, the five-year survival rate is 4 percent.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/17/2019.
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What Causes Stomach Cancer
Scientists donât know exactly what makes cancer cells start growing in the stomach. But they do know a few things that can raise your risk for the disease. One of them is infection with a common bacteria, H. pylori, which causes ulcers. Inflammation in your gut called gastritis, a certain type of long-lasting anemia called pernicious anemia, and growths in your stomach called polyps also can make you more likely to get cancer.
Other things that seem to play a role in raising the risk include:
Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Early-stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms. In countries where screening for stomach cancer is not routine, such as the United States, most stomach cancers arent found until theyve grown fairly large or have spread outside the stomach.
When stomach cancer does cause signs and symptoms, they can include:
- Poor appetite
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Feeling full after eating only a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
- Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes , if the cancer spreads to the liver
Most of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by things other than stomach cancer, such as a viral infection or an ulcer. Some of these symptoms may also be caused by other types of cancer. But people who have any of these problems, especially if they dont go away or get worse, should see a doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Ku GY, Ilson DH. Chapter 72: Cancer of the Stomach. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloffs Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier 2020.
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Causes Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is caused by changes in the cells of the stomach, although it’s unclear exactly why these changes occur.
Cancer begins with a change in the structure of the DNA in cells, which can affect how they grow. This means cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumour.
Left untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system .
Once the cancer reaches your lymphatic system, it’s capable of spreading to other parts of your body, including your blood, bones and organs.
It’s not known what triggers the changes in DNA that lead to stomach cancer and why only a small number of people develop the condition.
There Are Three Ways That Cancer Spreads In The Body
- Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
- Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
- Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.
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