Stomach cancer is difficult to cure unless found at an early stage, as early stomach cancer doesn’t cause many symptoms and tends to be diagnosed when it has advanced.
Treatment for stomach cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Surgery remains the only curative treatment for stomach cancer, where areas of the stomach and lymphatic tissue are removed. Chemotherapy can also be used to reduce the size of tumours prior to surgery, to decrease the risk of recurrence and for palliative patients to remove obstruction.1
Radiation is used in advance stages of the disease which are not suitable for surgery and can be given concurrently with chemotherapy. In many cases of advanced disease it is also used to palliate pain, obstruction and bleeding.
Immunotherapy or targeted therapy is an increasingly important treatment modality in a small subset of stomach cancers that may manifest certain targetable mutations, which are highly effective in controlling the tumour if the mutation is present.
- Surgery – which may involve the removal of part or all of the stomach.
- Radiation therapy – uses high-energy particles to target and destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy – involves the use of anti-cancer drugs which are taken orally (by mouth) or injected into the body.
- Targeted agent – Some cancer cells exhibit cell surface receptor positivity such as HER2. Anti HER2 targeted agent such as HERCEPTIN can be used.
- Immunotherapy – uses your immune system to slow the growth of cancer cells and destroy existing cancer cells.