Redefining Gastric Cancer Treatment: An Interdisciplinary Approach
When gastric cancer is diagnosed in more advanced stages, patients may require a combination of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- Chemotherapy either prior to surgery or after surgery will be recommended depending on the tumor characteristics and patient factors.
- Patients with large tumors, enlarged lymph nodes, or tumors near the esophagus will most likely benefit from chemotherapy before surgical resection. The goal of chemotherapy prior to surgery, also known as neoadjuvant treatment, is to shrink the tumor so that it can be removed entirely at the time of surgery and to decrease the chance that the tumor will come back.
- Chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both may be needed after surgery to prevent recurrence of disease.
- There are several kinds of chemotherapy, both oral and intravenous, and the exact chemotherapy regimen is determined based on the characteristics of each individual patient.
In some circumstances the tumor will be too extensive to be removed through surgery, especially when the cancer has already spread beyond the stomach to distant organs. In these cases, the patient’s medical team will evaluate options of chemotherapy and sometimes radiation in order to shrink the tumor and alleviate his or her symptoms such as pain or bleeding.