Surgery

Surgery can be used to eliminate stomach cancer that has not spread by removing a portion of the oesophagus or stomach where the tumour is present. Near-to-the-stomach lymph nodes are usually removed as well. The following stages of treatment for stomach cancer may need surgery:

  • Early-stage tumours are removed from the stomach lining. Endoscopy can be used to remove very tiny tumours that are restricted to the inside lining of the stomach, a process known as endoscopic mucosal resection. The endoscope is a lighted tube that is passed down your neck and into your stomach with a camera attached. The doctor removes the malignancy as well as a margin of good tissue from the stomach lining with specific equipment.
  • Taking off a section of the stomach (subtotal gastrectomy). During a subtotal gastrectomy, the surgeon removes only the cancerous section of the stomach.

  • Taking out the entire stomach (total gastrectomy). The whole stomach, as well as some surrounding tissue, is removed during a total gastrectomy. To allow food to pass through your digestive system, the oesophagus is connected directly to the small intestine.
  • Lymph nodes are removed to check for malignancy. To check for cancer cells, the surgeon checks and removes lymph nodes in your belly.
  • Surgery is performed to alleviate the signs and symptoms. In those with advanced stomach cancer, removing a portion of the stomach may reduce the signs and symptoms of a growing tumour. Surgery will not cure advanced stomach cancer in this scenario, but it will make you more comfortable.
  • Surgical procedures might result in bleeding and infection. You may encounter digestive issues if all or part of your stomach is removed.

Radiation therapy

To kill cancer cells, radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy such as X-rays and protons. The energy beams are emitted by a machine that revolves around you as you lie on a table.

Radiation therapy can be used before surgery to reduce a tumour and make it easier to remove in cancers of the gastroesophageal junction and the stomach body (neoadjuvant radiation). After surgery, radiation therapy can be used to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the area around your oesophagus or stomach (adjuvant radiation).

Radiation and chemotherapy are usually given at the same time (chemoradiotherapy) in gastroesophageal junction cancer, most often before surgery.

Diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting are among side effects of stomach radiation therapy. Radiation therapy to the oesophagus might result in swallowing pain and difficulty. You may be advised to have a feeding tube inserted in your stomach through a small incision in your abdomen until your oesophagus recovers to avoid this side effect.

Radiation therapy may be utilised to relieve side effects induced by a big tumour in advanced cancer situations.

Chemotherapy

It kills cancer cells by using chemicals. Chemotherapy medications go throughout your body, destroying cancer cells that have spread outside of your stomach.

Chemotherapy can be given before surgery to assist reduce a tumour so it can be removed more readily (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). Chemotherapy is often used to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the body after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy). Chemotherapy may be used alone to relieve signs and symptoms in persons with advanced stomach cancer.

The adverse effects of chemotherapy vary depending on the medications employed.

Targeted drugs

Drugs that target specific defects within cancer cells or that direct your immune system to kill cancer cells are used in targeted therapy (immunotherapy). The following are examples of targeted medications used to treat stomach cancer:

  • Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is an anti-HER2 antibody that is used to treat stomach cancer cells that produce too much of the protein.
  • Ramucirumab (Cyramza) is used for advanced stomach cancer that hasn't responded to prior treatments
  • Regorafenib (Stivarga) is a drug that is used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumours.
  • Imatinib (Gleevec) is a drug used to treat a rare kind of stomach cancer known as gastrointestinal stromal tumour.
  • Sunitinib (Sutent) is a drug that is used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

Several targeted medications are being explored for the treatment of gastroesophageal junction cancer, but only two of them have been authorised for this purpose: ramucirumab and trastuzumab.

Targeted treatments are frequently used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy medications. Your oncologist can use tests on your cancer cells to see if these treatments are likely to work for you.

Palliative (supportive) care

Palliative care is a type of medical treatment that focuses on relieving pain and other symptoms associated with a serious illness. They collaborate with you, your family, and your other doctors to add an extra layer of support to your ongoing treatment. While undergoing severe therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, palliative care might be administered.

People fighting cancer may feel better and survive longer when palliative care is used in conjunction with all other approved treatments.

A team of doctors, nurses, and other specially qualified professionals provide palliative care. They enhance the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. It is provided in addition to any curative or other treatments you may be receiving.

Potential future treatments

Researchers all over the world are looking into a number of novel treatments that use the immune system's power to fight cancer, a technique known as immunotherapy. These drugs work in a variety of ways to trick the immune system into treating cancer cells as if they were foreign intruders like germs.