Stomach cancer treatment
Your health care team will recommend treatment based on where the cancer is in the stomach, and whether it has spread (the stage). Treatment will also depend on your age, medical history, nutritional needs and general health.
Surgery is often part of the treatment for stomach cancer that has not spread. For some people with very early stomach cancer, an endoscopic resection may be the only treatment needed. If the cancer has spread, treatment may also include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy.
Learn more about:
- Making treatment decisions
- What to do before treatment starts
- Endoscopic resection for stomach cancer
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative treatment
What to do before treatment starts
Improve diet and nutrition
People with stomach cancer often lose a lot of weight and can become malnourished. Your doctor will usually refer you to a dietitian for advice on how to slow down the weight loss by changing your diet, taking liquid supplements or having a feeding tube. This will help improve your strength, reduce side effects, and may mean the treatment works better.
If you smoke, aim to quit before starting treatment. If you keep smoking, you may not respond as well to treatment. For support, see your doctor or call the Quitline on 13 7848.
Begin or continue an exercise program
Exercise will help build up your strength for recovery. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist ab t the right type of exercise for you.
Endoscopic resection for stomach cancer
Very early-stage tumours in the inner layers of the stomach (mucosa) may be removed with an endoscope through endoscopic resection (ER). Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) are two types of endoscopic resection.
For some people, an endoscopic resection may be the only treatment they need. This procedure usually means staying overnight in hospital. Preparation and recovery are similar to an endoscopy, but there is a slightly higher risk of bleeding or getting a small tear or hole in the stomach (perforation).
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Peter Blyth, Consumer; Jeff Bull, Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; Mick Daws, Consumer; Dr Steven Leibman, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, and Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian: Upper Gastrointestinal, Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Letchemi Valautha, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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