Gastric cancer, also referred to as stomach cancer, is a disease which typically begins in the glandular tissue that lines the stomach. Stomach cells become malignant or cancerous and form a tumor. If you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, choosing a course for treatment can be an intimidating and confusing process. Become familiar with the various courses of treatment available for stomach cancer patients today.
1. Opt for stomach surgery. There are 3 main types of surgical treatments for stomach cancer, including endoscopic mucosal resection or removal of the stomach tumor, a subtotal (partial) gastrectomy in which part of the stomach is removed or a total gastrectomy where the entire stomach is removed.
2. Choose to undergo chemotherapy. Many patients today undergo a course of chemo after stomach cancer surgery to lessen the chance of recurrence.
3. Consider radiation therapy. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation therapy can improve the long-term prospects for stomach cancer patients who have already had surgery.
4. Look into drug therapy. For instance, Gleevec, an anti-leukemia drug, has been used to fight certain kinds of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Ask your doctor if this treatment is right for you.
5. Factor in any long-term side effects before choosing a course of stomach cancer treatment. For instance, you should expect to change your eating habits if you have a total gastrectomy. Though your doctor may be able to create a ‘new stomach’ for you out of intestinal tissue following a total gastretomy, patients are typically not able to eat as much and require more frequent meals.
6. Realize that those patients who are unable undergo surgery can still use radiation therapy and chemotherapy to reduce the symptoms of stomach cancer.