Advanced stomach cancer
Advanced stomach cancer is when the cancer has spread beyond the stomach to other parts of the body. Treatment can be given to try to shrink and control the cancer and to relieve symptoms.
Cancer that has metastasised keeps the name of the original, primary cancer, so the cancer will still be called stomach cancer even if it has spread to your bowel, for example. Because stomach cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages, some people find out that their cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed. In other cases, the stomach cancer is advanced when it comes back after treatment (recurrence).
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Palliative treatment aims to help maintain a person’s quality of life by managing the symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. Many people think that palliative treatment is for people at the end of life, but it can help at any stage of advanced stomach cancer.
The treatment you are offered will be tailored to your individual needs, and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medicines. If you have a blockage in the stomach you may have a flexible tube (stent) put in so you can eat and drink more normally.
These treatments can help manage symptoms such as pain, bleeding, difficulty swallowing and nausea. They can also slow the spread of the cancer.
For more on this, see Palliative care.
Video: What is palliative care?
Prof David Watson, Senior Consultant Surgeon, Oesophago-gastric Surgery Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, and Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Flinders University, SA; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Katie Benton, Advanced Dietitian, Cancer Care, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD; Alana Fitzgibbon, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Christine Froude, Consumer; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Interventional Endoscopist and Consultant Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Grant Wilson, Consumer; Prof Desmond Yip, Clinical Director, Department of Medical Oncology, The Canberra Hospital, ACT. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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