A variety of different treatment options are available for patients, depending on the stage and grade of their cancer. Along with standard treatment options like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, clinical trials give patients the opportunity to try new and innovative methods of treatment.
Independent research done by patients and their loved ones is an excellent way to find out about treatment options, clinical trials and other resources. Research can empower the patient to make more informed decisions and enable them to participate more actively in the treatment process.
Stomach surgery is a common treatment for all stages of gastric cancer. It is used to remove all or part of the tumour and some healthy tissue around it; the type of the surgery received depends on the stage of the cancer and whether it has spread . The following types of surgery may be used for stomach cancer treatment:
- Subtotal gastrectomy: Removal of the part of the stomach that contains cancer, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of other tissues and organs near the tumour. The spleen may be removed. The spleen is an organ in the upper abdomen that filters the blood and removes old blood cells.
- Total gastrectomy: Removal of the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and parts of the esophagus, small intestine, and other tissues near the tumour. The spleen may be removed. The esophagus is connected to the small intestine so the patient can continue to eat and swallow.
If the tumour is blocking the stomach and the cancer cannot be completely removed by standard surgery, the following procedures may be used:
- Endoluminal stent placement: A procedure to insert a stent (a thin, expandable tube) in order to keep a passage (such as arteries or the esophagus) open. For tumours blocking the passage into or out of the stomach, surgery may be done to place a stent from the esophagus to the stomach or from the stomach to the small intestine to allow the patient to eat normally.
- Endoluminal laser therapy: A procedure in which an endoscope (a thin, lighted tube) with a laser attached is inserted into the body. A laser is an intense beam of light that can be used as a knife.
- Gastrojejunostomy: Surgery to remove the part of the stomach with cancer that is blocking the opening into the small intestine. The stomach is connected to the jejunum (a part of the small intestine) to allow food and medicine to pass from the stomach into the small intestine.
Information taken from the National Cancer Institute.