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Stomach cancer (treatment options)

3-minute read

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is a malignant growth that starts in the wall of your stomach.

A cancer in the upper part of your stomach can prevent food from going down, making it difficult for you to swallow or giving the feeling of food sticking.

Effective treatment may help to control the cancer and improve your symptoms.

How can stomach cancer be treated?

Illustration the human body.
Your doctor can mark where the cancer is.
  • Surgery to remove the cancer and part of or all your stomach. Your bowel is used to join the ends together, allowing you to eat and drink normally.
  • Chemotherapy to shrink the cancer and kill off cancer cells.
  • A combination of chemotherapy and surgery.
  • Radiotherapy after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back in the same area.

There are treatments to improve swallowing without treating the underlying cancer.

  • Inserting a stent across the cancer to hold your oesophagus or stomach open.
  • Bypass surgery to make a way around the cancer.

How do I know what is the best treatment for me?

Removing the cancer by surgery gives you the best chance of being free of stomach cancer. However, surgery involves significant risks.

If the cancer has spread outside your stomach and it is no longer possible for you to be cured, surgery or other treatments may control the cancer for a long time and improve your quality of life.

Some people who have other medical problems may not be strong enough to have major surgery and so non-surgical treatments may be offered.

To decide on the best treatment for you and if surgery is likely to help you, you may need to have a number of tests.

Sometimes you may also need to have other tests such as an endoscopic ultrasound.

Once all the information is available, your doctor will discuss the results at a team meeting with the other specialists involved in your care.

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Last reviewed: September 2022


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