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Gastric cancer

  • Alternative Names

    Cancer - stomach; Stomach cancer; Gastric carcinoma; Adenocarcinoma of the stomach


    Treatment

    Surgery to remove the stomach (gastrectomy) is the only treatment that can cure the condition. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may help. For many patients, chemotherapy and radiation therapy after surgery may improve the chance of a cure.

    For patients who cannot have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation can improve symptoms and may prolong survival, but will likely not cure the cancer. For some patients, a surgical bypass procedure may relieve symptoms.


    Support Groups

    You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group with members who share common experiences and problems. See:

    • Cancer - support group
    • Gastrointestinal disorders - support group

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outlook varies. Tumors in the lower stomach are cured more often than those in the higher stomach -- gastric cardia or gastroesophageal junction. How far the tumor invades the stomach wall and whether lymph nodes are involved when the patient is diagnosed affect the chances of a cure.

    When the tumor has spread outside the stomach, a cure is not possible and treatment is designed to improve symptoms.


    Complications
    • Fluid buildup in the belly area (ascites)
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding
    • Spread of cancer to other organs or tissues
    • Weight loss

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if symptoms of gastric cancer develop.