Stomach cancer is a malignant disease which features with uncontrollable growth of the cells which form the stomach. This malignant disease is also called gastric cancer. The highest percentage of stomach cancers are pathohistologically classified as adenocarcinomas originating from the glandular tissue of the stomach. Still the stomach may as well be affected by lymphomas which originate from the lymphatic tissue of the stomach.
After the definitive diagnosis has been set a team of doctors will decide for the best possible treatment modality. This basically depends on the stage of the stomach cancer and general health of the patient and possible co-existing diseases.
Surgery for Stomach Cancer
This is the most preferable treatment modality for stomach cancer. It can remove the entire tumor as well as locoregional lymph nodes. The surgery will give the best insight in the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, only small percentage of the patients can be successfully surgically treated. This occurs due to the fact that majority of cases of stomach cancers are found in advanced stages of the disease.
Still it remains the primary treatment for all the patients in early stages of the disease. Extremely, small tumors which have only affected the lining of the stomach can be successfully removed endoscopically. If the rumor has spread onto deeper tissues patients undergo either subtotal or total gastrectomy. In partial gastrectomy parts of the stomach are preserved while total gastrectomy includes the resection of the entire organ, some surrounding tissues together with regional lymph nodes.
In advanced stages of the disease some patients can benefit from palliative surgery in which tumor masses are removed to alleviate the symptoms and signs of the disease but cannot actually cure the disease.
Radiation Therapy for Stomach Cancer
This is another treatment modality for stomach cancer and it can be applied alone or in a combination with chemotherapy. Additionally, radiation therapy can be applied prior the surgery or after the surgery. The goal of this treatment modality if applied prior the surgery is shrinkage of the tumor and possible sterilization of the regional lymph nodes. After the surgery radiation therapy is given to kill the remaining cells in the operated area.
This treatment modality is also administered in advanced and inoperable stages of the disease to reduce the tumor and help with the symptoms and signs of the disease.
Chemotherapy for Stomach Cancer
This treatment is given similarly to radiotherapy either prior or after the surgery. It can be given alone or in a combination with radiotherapy in advanced stages of stomach cancer. The type of chemotherapeutics which are going to be administered basically depend on pathohistological type of the stomach cancer.
Clinical trials for Stomach Cancer
Clinical trials for stomach cancer investigate new treatments for this horrible disease and try to combine current treatment modalities. Patients who participate in trials are not guaranteed a cure for the disease. The goal of the trials is to find the best possible treatment for cancers. Not all the patients are suitable for clinical trials and apart from potential benefits trials also carry risk of of potential complications.