Treatment options for stomach cancer.

Doctor holds blood cancer patients hand

Getting started

Your treatment begins with your Legacy Cancer Institute doctor recommending a plan based on expert guidelines, called protocols. Your treatment is determined by:

  • The type of tumor

  • The location of the tumor

  • The extent of the disease, called the stage

  • Any tests you have had during diagnosis

  • A discussion about what is right for you

Stomach cancer treatment options

There are several types of treatment for stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer), and many people undergo a combination of treatments, depending on its stage and other factors. 

  • Surgery is the most common treatment for stomach cancer. There are several surgical options: 
    • Subtotal gastrectomy removes the part of the stomach with cancer, nearby lymph nodes and other tissues and organs near the tumor. 
    • Total gastrectomy involves removing the entire stomach and nearby lymph nodes

If the tumor blocks the stomach, and traditional surgery can’t be used, surgeons may use an alternative:

    • Endoluminal stent placement to create an opening
    • Gastrojejunostomy to bypass the blocked area of the stomach.
  • Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill cancer cells throughout the body. For stomach cancer, chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery and sometimes with radiation. Or chemotherapy may be the main treatment for people who can't have surgery. Your doctor will choose the chemotherapy treatment plan best suited for your cancer.
    • Chemoradiation combines chemotherapy and radiation to increase the effectiveness of both treatments.
  • Radiation uses X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation is often used with other treatments, like chemotherapy or surgery.

Talk to your doctor about these and other options for treating stomach (gastric) cancer. Researchers are discovering new therapies for treating cancer all the time, giving doctors new resources for your care. 

What happens next

Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these symptoms in the best ways possible. Comfort care can treat symptoms to help improve your quality of life; this is also called palliative care.

To see how well your treatment is working, some of the tests used to diagnose and stage your cancer may be repeated. Your doctor uses these tests to decide whether to stop, change or continue treatment based on the results. These tests can also determine if cancer has returned. Whenever possible, we work to stop the growth of cancer and reduce the chance of cancer coming back.

Working together for you

Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.

A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.