As with many forms of cancer, the main stomach cancer treatments available for patients today include chemotherapy and surgery. You may have surgery by itself, or choose to get surgery with chemotherapy at a later date, depending on the specific circumstances of your illness. The doctors who work with you through your cancer diagnosis will help to plan your treatment by considering your general health outside of the cancer, your level of fitness and age, and how far the cancer has grown or spread throughout your body.
One important thing to remember when considering stomach cancer treatments, is that like with other cancers, the earlier your cancer is diagnosed, the easier it will be for treatment to control your symptoms and possible even cure it. If the cancer is diagnosed before it spreads elsewhere, then you'll almost certainly be recommended for surgery. However, your doctor will need to make certain that you are fit enough for such a huge operation.
Stomach Cancer Treatments – Surgery
The degree of surgery that you may need to have will depend on the stage your cancer is in. You're likely to have a laparoscopy to help your specialist decide whether surgery is actually an option for you to begin with. However, it's important to note that your doctor may not be able to tell you exactly which stage you are in with regads to your stomach cancer until after surgery has taken place. Following surgery, biopsy specimens will be sent to a lab where a pathologist can examine them. Depending on your stage, you will either have surgery to remove the cancer, or surgery to help deal with the symptoms of the cancer.
The Different Surgeries
If the experts helping to manage your treatment believe that it will be possible to cure your stomach cancer, then you may have all or at least part of your stomach removed. Which parts and how much of your stomach are removed during the surgery will depend largely on where your cancer is located. During your operation, your surgeon will examine your stomach, and the lymph nodes surrounding that area will be removed.
On the other hand, if your stomach cancer can't be cured through surgery, you may need an operation to help relieve some of the symptoms to give you a better quality of life. For example, if your tumor is blocking the entry or exit to your stomach, you're likely to have a tube placed in the area, along with further chemotherapy. Sometimes, laser surgery might be used to reduce the size of a tumor blocking the entryway to the stomach.
The other most common option for stomach cancer treatments is chemotherapy. You are most likely to have this form of treatment without surgery if the cancer in your system has already spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy can help to relieve symptoms, and can often shrink the size of a cancerous tumor or slow it's growth.
If you are suffering from stage 2 or 3 stomach cancer, you will likely be offered chemotherapy after and before surgery.