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Stomach Cancer Post 2

by Daniel on August 18th, 2011

If cancer is found in the stomach, a CT (or CAT) scan, an ultrasound exam, or other tests may also be done to look for spread of the cancer to the liver, pancreas, or other organs near the stomach.

Treatment

The type of treatment, as with most cancers, depends on the stage and location of disease, and the age, general health, and personal preferences of the patient.

Surgery is the most common type of treatment for stomach cancer. Part or all of the stomach is removed, along with some of the tissue around the stomach. This type of surgery is called a gastrectomy. Some of the side effects of a gastrectomy include abdominal pain, heartburn, and vitamin deficiences. Usually, the patient must change his/her diet and eat smaller, more frequent meals. Some gastrectomy patients experience “dumping syndrome”, which is caused by food and liquid entering the small intestine too quickly. Patients will have cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness shortly after eating. Foods containing high amounts of sugar will make these symptoms worse. Avoiding foods high in sugar, eating foods high in protein, and not drinking liquids at mealtime often helps lessen the symptoms.

Chemotherapy (the use of drugs to kill cancer cells) is often given for stomach cancer that has spread to distant organs. It may be given before and/or after surgery, with or without radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may keep the cancer from coming back as quickly and help extend the life of patients with less advanced disease. Side effects are usually temporary and depend on the drug that is used, but may include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of hair, diarrhea, and mouth sores. Infection, bleeding or bruising, and fatigue and shortness of breath may also occur due to low blood cell counts.

External beam radiation therapy (radiation delivered from outside the body focused on the cancer) is often used to treat stomach cancer. After surgery, radiation can be used to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Radiation can also be used to ease the symptoms of stomach cancer, such as pain, bleeding, and difficulty eating. The side effects of radiation therapy may include mild skin problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue.

New drugs and combinations of drugs are being studied in clinical trials. Also, multi-modality (more than one type of treatment) therapies are being tested, especially chemotherapy and radiation therapy before and/or after surgery. Intraoperative radiotherapy (radiation applied to the cancer during surgery) is currently being studied as well.

From → Cancer

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