Radiation therapy for stomach cancer
Also known as radiotherapy, this treatment uses a controlled dose of radiation, such as focused x-ray beams, to kill or damage cancer cells.
Radiation therapy for stomach cancer is commonly used to control symptoms of pain, difficulty swallowing or bleeding. It is usually given as a short course (between one day and two weeks). Occasionally radiation will be given over a longer period (5–6 weeks), either before or after surgery, or if surgery is not possible.
Each treatment takes about 15 minutes and is not painful. You will lie on a table under a machine that delivers radiation to the affected parts of your body. Your doctor will let you know your treatment schedule. Possible side effects include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
For more on this, see our general section on Radiation therapy.
Video: What is radiation therapy?
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Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
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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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