Your treatment options for stomach cancer depend on the stage of your cancer, your overall health and your preferences.
The goal of surgery is to remove all of the stomach cancer and a margin of healthy tissue, when possible. Options include:
Surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection. If all or part of your stomach is removed, you may experience digestive problems.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. The energy beams come from a machine that moves around you as you lie on a table.
Radiation therapy can be used before surgery (neoadjuvant radiation) to shrink a stomach tumor so that it's more easily removed. Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery (adjuvant radiation) to kill any cancer cells that might remain around your stomach. Radiation is often combined with chemotherapy. In cases of advanced cancer, radiation therapy may be used to relieve side effects caused by a large tumor.
Radiation therapy to your stomach can cause diarrhea, indigestion, nausea and vomiting.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs travel throughout your body, killing cancer cells that may have spread beyond the stomach.
Chemotherapy can be given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to help shrink a tumor so that it can be more easily removed. Chemotherapy is also used after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to kill any cancer cells that might remain in the body. Chemotherapy is often combined with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may be used alone in people with advanced stomach cancer to help relieve signs and symptoms.
Chemotherapy side effects depend on which drugs are used. The type of stomach cancer you have determines which chemotherapy drugs you'll receive.
Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells. Targeted drugs used to treat stomach cancer include:
Tests of your cancer cells can tell your doctor whether these treatments are likely to work for you.
Clinical trials are studies of new treatments and new ways of using existing treatments. Participating in a clinical trial may give you a chance to try the latest treatments. But clinical trials can't guarantee a cure. In some cases, researchers might not be certain of a new treatment's side effects.
Ask your doctor whether you may be eligible for a clinical trial. Together you can discuss the benefits and risks.