Stomach Cancer

A cancer diagnosis is hard enough. That’s why we streamline the process, bringing all of our specialists under one roof to outline the best course of treatment for you.

Let’s beat this. Together.

Stomach Cancer Basics

A cancer diagnosis is always life-changing, and stomach cancer is no different. The good news is that when you’re part of INTEGRIS, you have the depth and breadth of the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute behind you, with the region’s foremost collection of therapies, physicians and specialists.

The Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic

There was a time when treating stomach cancer meant dozens of appointments at different facilities with multiple specialists, but with our Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic, the process is streamlined. We gather our physicians and specialists in one room to decide the best course of treatment for you. That means the time you have to spend between diagnosis and treatment is dramatically reduced.

We’re here for you every step of the way, from the first diagnosis and staging to treatment and even beyond – with rehabilitation designed specifically for cancer survivors. We understand that this can be a challenging time, so please ask your physician about any concerns or questions you might have.

Understanding Stomach Cancer

If you think you may be suffering from stomach cancer, it’s best to talk with your physician. Symptoms caused by stomach cancer could also be caused by a variety of other health problems, and only a doctor can accurately diagnose their cause. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Feeling like food gets stuck in your throat when eating.
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Feeling of fullness or bloating after eating even small amounts of food.
  • Nausea and vomiting. This often happens soon after eating.
  • Vomiting blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in your stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness

Advanced stomach cancer can block your stomach or intestines, causing vomiting that doesn’t go away. Stomach cancer can also spread to your liver. If this happens, it can cause yellowing of your skin and the white part of your eyes (jaundice) or fluid build-up in your abdomen (ascites).

If your doctor thinks you might have stomach cancer, exams and tests will be required to reach an accurate diagnosis. This begins with your physician asking questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease, and may continue with more in-depth tests:

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy: An endoscope is a lighted, flexible tube with an attached camera that allows your doctor to see inside you. Using this and ultrasound as a guide, your physician will collect a biopsy to test for cancer.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography: A technique that combines the use of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat certain problems of the biliary or pancreatic ductal systems.
  • Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scans: Imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of your bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A test that uses a large magnet, radio signals, and a computer to make images of organs and tissue in the body.
  • PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scans: A PET is a powerful, non-invasive, imaging technique that accurately images the biological function of the human body.

Several types of treatment can be used for stomach cancer. Which may work best for you? It depends on a number of factors. These include the type, size, location, and stage of your cancer. Other important factors include your age, overall health and what side effects you find acceptable. Your doctor can answer any questions or concerns you have.

Surgery

  • Overview: You may have surgery to diagnose, stage and treat stomach cancer. These surgical procedures include:
  • Open Surgery: Traditional surgery, in which an incision is made using a scalpel. The surgeon then inserts the instruments and conducts the surgery. Open surgery is usually compared to "minimally invasive" surgical techniques which may involve smaller incisions or even (in some cases) no incision at all.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: Surgery will be minimally invasive whenever possible. This could include use of a laparoscope (a small, fiber-optic instrument inserted through the abdominal wall) or robotic surgery.

Radiation Therapy

  • Overview: Radiation Therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Types of radiation therapy include:
  • Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT): Uses frequent two and three-dimensional imaging to direct radiation therapy more accurately.
  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): Advanced, high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT): Uses very focused beams of high does radiation that more directly target a tumor.

Medical Oncology

  • Overview: INTEGRIS medical oncology is a dedicated group of medical oncologists specializing in diagnosing and the caring for cancer patients with a variety of medicine options. These treatments are administered orally or intravenously depending upon the treatment plan developed by your multidiscipline cancer care team.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy’s main method of function is to interfere with cancerous cells’ ability to develop and multiply. A patient may be prescribed a combination of a few types of chemotherapy, and it may also be prescribed in tandem with additional treatments, like radiation or surgery.
  • Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy uses medicines that target specific parts of certain types of cancer cells, interfering with their ability to grow and survive. The therapies are specific to each person's cancer.
  • Immunotherapy: This is a way to use the body's immune system to help treat or prevent many health problems. It may be used to treat or manage cancer.
  • Adjuvant Therapy: Chemotherapy or radiation soon after surgery is called adjuvant treatment. The goal of adjuvant treatment is to kill any cancer cells that may be left after the surgery. Even if there is no sign of cancer cells, your physician may suggest adjuvant treatment, as it may lower the risk that the cancer will come back or spread
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy: If hormone therapy is given before the primary treatment – it is called neoadjuvant therapy. Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapies before some cancer treatments or after other cancer treatments. If hormone therapy is given before the primary treatment, it is called neoadjuvant treatment. Neoadjuvant treatments help kill cancer cells and contribute to the effectiveness of the primary therapy.

At INTEGRIS, we offer a wide variety of support programs and services along with the Troy and Dollie Smith Wellness Center to help patients with breast cancer and their loved ones manage the physical and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Support services for stomach cancer include:

  • Mind, body therapies including acupuncture, massage, and yoga
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Pastoral care, spiritual support and relaxation techniques
  • Resource Room
  • Clinical social work services
  • Counseling
  • Patient navigation and survivor care planning
  • Multi-disciplinary clinic coordination
  • Cancer screenings
  • Patient and family support groups

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