Stomach cancer treatment and diagnosis

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is relatively uncommon in the U.S and there’s been a steady decline in new stomach cancer cases in the nation over the last 10 years, about 1.5% each year.

It’s estimated that there will be 27,000 Americans will develop stomach cancer in 2020, however, early diagnosis and effective treatment can mean a positive outcome for most.

Chapter 1

Diagnostics

Stomach cancer is often diagnosed with imaging scans such as ultrasound and CT, and pathology tests such as an endoscopy or biopsy, although your doctor may use other techniques to identify the problem. You may also have other advanced tests to find out more about your cancer, where it’s located and which treatments are likely to be most effective. Some of these tests are also used to assess how well your treatment is working.

Find your nearest GenesisCare center to find out what diagnostic tests and scans are available in your local area. Whatever your outcome, our expert team will support you throughout your treatment journey.

We specialize in the latest technologies to treat stomach cancer that are proven to be effective. We work with teams of gastrointestinal specialists who will be with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond, to ensure that you receive the best possible care during your time with us.

At our centers we offer different treatment options that are proven improve stomach cancer prognosis, manage the disease and help minimize discomfort and pain. These include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. Determining the most appropriate treatment for your situation depends on the stage and location of your stomach cancer. Our team will work with you to decide on the most appropriate treatment plan that will be tailored to you and your needs.

Chapter 2

Surgery

We work with expert teams of gastrointestinal surgeons who are specially trained in surgical removal of tumors within the stomach. There are different procedures used for the stomach cancer treatment and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate one for you depending on your tumor size and its location.

Endoscopic resection

Small cancers that are in their early stage and are unlikely to have spread to the surrounding lymph nodes can be removed during an endoscopy – where a flexible tube with a camera is passed through the throat. Your surgeon can feed specialist equipment through the endoscope to cut away the tumor and some of the surrounding of the healthy stomach tissue around it.

Subtotal gastrectomy

If the cancer is contained to one area, the affected part of the stomach can be removed and remaining healthy portion is reattached to the digestive system. A subtotal gastrectomy is usually recommended if the cancer is only found in the lower part of the stomach, but it can be used if it’s only in the upper portion too. During the procedure, your surgeon typically also removes some of the omentum, nearby lymph nodes and the spleen. Depending of the location of the tumor, part of the duodenum or esophagus may also be removed.

Total gastrectomy

For cancers that have spread throughout the stomach, or are found in the upper part of the stomach, your surgeon may recommend a total gastrectomy colectomy. In this procedure, your surgeon will remove your stomach, omentum and nearby lymph nodes, then reattach the esophagus to the small intestine. Some parts of the spleen, pancreas, esophagus and intestine may also be removed.

 

Chapter 3

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy (ERBT)

External beam radiation therapy (ERBT) delivers high-powered X-rays from outside the body, precisely targeting and shrinking or destroying tumors. Radiation therapy may be used alongside chemotherapy (chemoradiation) to shrink your stomach cancer tumor before surgery, or to kill any cancerous cells that remain after surgery.

At GenesisCare we offer fast access to the latest technologies and treatments that have been proven to make a difference. These include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced external beam radiation therapy technique where the beams of radiation are precisely shaped to exactly match your tumor and damage to adjacent healthy tissues is limited.

Chapter 4

Medical oncology

At GenesisCare, we offer various drug therapies and a wide range of the latest anti-cancer drugs for stomach cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy for stomach cancers

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that destroy cancer cells. Our expert teams may recommend chemotherapy before or after other surgery, on its own, or with other targeted drugs. The type of chemotherapy you’ll receive will also depend on your how advanced your stomach cancer is. If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, chemotherapy may help control its growth, relieve symptoms and improve your stomach cancer prognosis.

Targeted therapy for stomach cancer

As researchers know more about non-small cell stomach cancers, they have developed new treatments that can specifically target it. We use targeted therapy to seek and attack cellular activity that the cancer depends on to survive and grow. They are used depending on the specific genetic make up of your cancer. Types of targeted therapy for non-small cell stomach cancer include:

  • Agiogenesis inhibitors – work by blocking the protein VEGF which promotes new blood vessel formation and helps tumors grow
  • Monoclonal antibodies – suitable for stomach cancers with increased levels of HER2, a protein that encourages cancer cells to grow. Often given alongside chemotherapy to target HER2
  • RTK inhibitors – block the proteins that are found near or on the surface of cancer cells that help the tumor grow. This is a treatment option for a rare type of stomach cancer called gastro-intestinal stromal tumors

Immunotherapy for stomach cancer

Immunotherapy helps your body’s own immune system to recognize and fight the cancer, it can be used to treat some kinds of advanced stomach cancers. Checkpoint inhibitors are an effective immunotherapy against some stomach cancers and they work by blocking the signals that stop the immune system from attacking the stomach cancer cells.

Chapter 5

Advanced disease

If stomach cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic stomach cancer. There are treatment options for advanced stomach cancer at GenesisCare and our goal is to deliver exceptional treatment and care in a way that enhances every aspect of your cancer journey.

Palliative surgery

The aim of palliative surgery isn’t to cure advanced stomach cancer but it’s used to relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding and blockages, to give you a better quality of life. There are several different types of palliative surgery and we’ll recommend the best one for you depending on your overall health.

 

Palliative radiation therapy

Palliative radiation therapy does not aim to cure advanced stomach cancer, but is used to help shrink, slow down the growth, or control your symptoms to give you a better quality of life. Most people don’t need long courses of palliative care, it might be anything between one and ten treatments. However, it’s not suitable for everyone. Your primary care physician is the best person talk with about the best way forward for you.

Chapter 6

Why choose GenesisCare?

People choose GenesisCare so they can access the latest technologies, effective treatments and personalized care that’s tailored to them without delay.

Cancer treatment and care is constantly evolving and we offer the world’s latest evidence-based treatments that have been shown to benefit patients. By working together closely, our multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and other healthcare specialists provide care that’s focused on you, not just your cancer.

We know that for many people, cancer is a life-changing experience and our goal is to help you through it in the most positive way possible. That’s why as well as offering exceptional cancer treatments, we also provide you with support and resources for your cancer journey—including advice about nutrition and exercise, expert help for managing side effects and information on local support groups.

Designing better care​

Our centers are conveniently located throughout the United States, and each location has a dedicated Office Financial Counselor on hand to help you with your paperwork and answer your questions. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, including radiation therapy.