Gastric Cancer Treatment
There is no single treatment for
gastric cancer; each person with stomach tumor may be assigned different treatment options depending
on the specific characteristics of cancer and state of health. In general, before establishing a treatment plan,
your oncologist will consider the size and stage of the tumor. He will also consider your age. However,
conventional treatments for stomach cancer include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
intervention performed in the treatment of gastric cancer depends on the nature, location and size of the
tumor. Based on your condition, your doctor may perform:
Removal by endoscopy – you will be recommended this surgical technique if you
have a small size-tumor. During the surgery, your surgeon inserts a lighted tube with a camera (endoscope) into
your stomach in order to reach the tumor and remove it and a margin of healthy tissue surrounding it.
Partial gastrectomy – if your cancer was detect at early stage (stage 1 for
instance), your surgeon may perform a partial gastrectomy to remove portion of the stomach affected by the
cancer. After ablation, the remaining stomach will be then reconnected to the first section of the small
Total Gastrectomy - total gastrectomy involves complete removal of the
stomach. After the diseased stomach is removed, your surgeon will establish a continuity between your esophagus
and your duodenum. In general, total gastrectomy is indicated for advanced stomach cancer.
Splenectomy - In case you have a type T3-T4 cancer associated with
swollen/enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), your surgeon may perform a splenectomy, partial or complete
surgical removal of the spleen. Splenectomy is not always practiced in the treatment of stomach cancer; it puts
you at increased risk of infections, including pneumococcal and meningococcal infections.
Complications related to the surgery
surgery can provide good results; however, it is not without consequences. Following surgery for stomach cancer,
you may experience intra-abdominal infections and/or pancreatitis. In addition, the gastrectomy may
in iron, vitamin B12 and/or folic acid.
therapy aims to destroy cancer cells and shrink the tumor in your stomach. Unlike chemotherapy, radiotherapy
treats a specific area in your body; precisely, the tumor and small surrounding health tissue. The radiotherapy
can be performed alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. However, radiotherapy alone has not
proven its efficacy in the treatment of stomach cancer, unless the tumor is well localized. Therefore, it is
sometimes used in the palliative treatment or in cases of obstruction of the orifice above or below the stomach
by the tumor. Radiation therapy may also be recommended in cases of gastric bleeding.
radiation therapy is less toxic than chemotherapy, it often causes adverse effects:
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involves taking, mostly intravenously, powerful chemicals to kill cancer cells. The chemotherapy agents act on the
DNA of the cells to block certain stages of their division, preventing their proliferation. In cases of
metastatic stomach cancer, used as a palliative treatment, chemotherapy improves survival rate and quality of
life. However, the results of chemotherapy in the treatment of stomach cancer are conflicting; the drugs are not
always effective in most patients.
used to treat metastatic stomach cancer are doxorubicin, epirubicin, 5-fluorouracil,
methotrexate, cisplatin and docetaxel. The protocol ELF (etoposide, leucovorin, 5-FU) can also be used because
of its better tolerability, especially in fragile or elderly patients.
is a powerful treatment that causes side effects in most patients:
- loss of