Stomach Cancer Treatment
Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, the location of the cancer, your age, and overall health. Some treatments are aimed at curing cancer, while others focus on reducing symptoms if there is no cure. Surgery is the primary treatment and only possible cure for stomach cancer. Surgery removes the cancer cells, while leaving as much of the stomach in place as possible.
There are three main types of surgery for stomach cancer: endoscopic mucosal resection, subtotal partial gastrectomy, and total gastrectomy. Endoscopic mucosal resection is used for early stomach cancers. It removes the cancerous area of the stomach with an endoscope. An endoscope is a long thin tube with a light and a viewing instrument that sends images to monitor. A subtotal partial gastrectomy is used to treat cancer that is located in the lower part of the stomach near the small intestine. This surgery removes a portion of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. A total gastrectomy is used to treat cancer in the upper or middle stomach. This procedure removes the entire stomach. A substitute stomach is formed out of the small intestine by the surgeon. After a total gastrectomy, you will be limited to eating only small amounts of food at a time.
If your stomach cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, they may need to be surgically removed. Advanced cancers may need adjuvant therapy or additional treatments. Adjuvant therapies are used if there is a chance that cancer cells may exist outside of the surgical site or if there is a chance that the cancer might come back.
Adjuvant therapies for stomach cancer include radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy or limit cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses cancer-fighting drugs to destroy cancer cells. There are several different types of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Treatments usually last for several weeks or months. Your doctor will let you know what to expect.
The prognosis for stomach cancer is individualized and varies widely. The prognosis depends on the location of the cancer, its depth in the stomach wall, and involvement of the lymph nodes. The prognosis is less optimistic for stomach cancer that has metastasized.
The experience of cancer and cancer treatments can be an emotional process for people with cancer and their loved ones. It is important that you receive emotional support from a positive source. Some people find comfort in their family, friends, co-workers, and faith. Cancer support groups are another good option. They can be a good source of information and support from people who understand what you are experiencing. Ask your doctor about cancer support group locations in your area.
Stomach Cancer Treatment from SecondOpinions.com (Family Practice, Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine, Men's Health, Oncology)
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