Stomach Cancer

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What is the treatment for stomach cancer?

The choice of treatment depends mainly on the size and location of the tumor, the stage of disease, and your general health.

Treatment for stomach cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. You'll probably receive more than one type of treatment. For example, chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery. It's often given at the same time as radiation therapy.

You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. Clinical trials are an important option for people at any stage of stomach cancer.

You may have a team of specialists to help plan your treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat stomach cancer include gastroenterologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Your health care team may also include an oncology nurse and a registered dietitian.

Your health care team can describe your treatment choices, the expected results, and the possible side effects. Because cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects, how to prevent or reduce these effects, and how treatment may change your normal activities. You and your health care team can work together to make a treatment plan that meets your needs.

You may want to ask your doctor these questions before you begin treatment:

  • What is the stage of the disease? Has the cancer spread? Do any lymph nodes show signs of cancer?
  • What is the goal of treatment? What are my treatment choices? Which do you suggest for me? Why?
  • What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment? How can side effects be managed?
  • What is the treatment likely to cost? Will my insurance cover it?
  • How will treatment affect my normal activities? Am I likely to have eating or other problems?
  • Would a research study (clinical trial) be a good choice for me?
  • Can you recommend other doctors who could give me a second opinion about my treatment options?
  • How often should I have checkups?
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