How Is Stomach Cancer Treated?

Stomach cancer can be treated with standard care which is the best of current treatments or new methods called as clinical trials. Clinical trials are recommended for advanced care.

Stomach cancer treatment involves a multi-disciplinary team which includes gastroenterologist  ( a doctor who specializes in intestine and stomach ),surgical oncologist ( a cancer surgeon),medical oncologist(treats cancer using medication) and radiation oncologist (uses radiotherapy to fight cancer) . Other members of the team include oncology nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians  and psychologists. This also determines cost of stomach cancer treatment in India.

Treatment of stomach cancer may be done using surgery, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy  or immunotherapy. But generally it is accepted that stomach cancer is tough to cure as mostly it is detected in an advanced stage.

Treatment options depend on:

  • Stage and type of cancer
  • Potential side-effects
  • General health of patient
  • Preferences of patient

Treatment plan must keep in mind symptoms as well as side effects. Weigh all treatment options and even take a second opinion. Talk about goals of all treatment modalities and what you can expect.

SURGERY:

  • It involves s removal of tumor and some surrounding tissue.
  • Type of surgery depends on stage of cancer
  • In case of very early stage cancer, a non surgical method called as endoscopic mucosal resection is recommended. Tumor is removed using an endoscope.
  • In early stages, the cancerous tissue and some surrounding lymph nodes are removed. This is referred to as partial gasterectomy. In this, remaining stomach is connected to small intestine.
  • In later stage cancer, the procedure of total gasterectomy is used which involves removal of entire stomach. The esophagus is connected directly to the small intestine.
  • This surgical procedure has serious side effects like nausea ,cramps, dizziness and diarrhea. Doctor may prescribe medication to combat these.
  • Lymph nodes may also have been removed in a procedure called as lymphadenectomy.

RADIATION THERAPY:

  • High energy X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells.
  • It is administered in intervals spread over a period.
  • Side effects include mild skin reaction, fatigue, upset stomach, and loose motion.

CHEMOTHERAPY:

  • Drugs are used to kill cancer cells by destroying their ability to divide and multiply.
  • It is done by a medical oncologist
  • It is administered orally or intravenously
  • It is given in cycles over a period of time.

TARGETED THERAPY:

  • It targets tissue environment, genes and proteins which affect survival and growth of cancer.
  • It blocks spread of cancerous  cells and limits damage to healthy ones.
  • The doctor may study cells from the tumor to decide on targeted treatment

IMMUNO THERAPY:

  • It boosts the natural defenses of the body to fight cancer
  • It uses substances made inside the body or in labs to restore and improve immune function.

PALLIATIVE CARE:

  • This involves efforts to relive the patient of side-effects and symptoms like pain.
  • It also entails supporting the social, emotional and physical needs of the patient.
  • In very advanced stage, the patient may be admitted to hospices where all efforts are made to make the last months or weeks of the patient  as enjoyable and peaceful as possible.

The type of treatment varies as per the individual case- sometimes, a combination of therapies may be used to combat stomach cancer. The bright side is that stomach cancer treatment cost in india is relatively low and affordable.

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Health

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