The main treatments for stomach cancer are surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes, radiotherapy or targeted therapy treatments are used. The treatments can be used alone or in combination with each other.
Your treatment for stomach cancer depends on:
- the stage of the cancer
- your general health
- your personal choices.
Your cancer doctor and specialist nurse will explain the treatments they think are best for you. They can help you make decisions about your treatment.
After you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, you will be referred to a hospital dietitian. You might have difficulty eating and may have lost weight. A dietitian can give you advice on eating well and help you stop losing weight. This helps you prepare for treatment.
If you smoke, you should try to stop or cut down before your operation. This will help reduce the risk of problems, such as getting a serious chest infection. It will also improve wound healing after the operation. Your GP can give you advice on giving up smoking.
The treatment you are offered will depend on your individual situation.
Your cancer doctor will talk to you about the treatment options that might be best in your situation.
Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
Immunotherapy treatment has been shown to be helpful for treating a few different cancers. An immunotherapy drug such as nivolumab or pembrolizumab may be used. Currently immunotherapy is not commonly used to treat stomach cancer. But you may be offered it as part of a clinical trial.
Treatment to control symptoms
If the cancer has spread and you decide not to have chemotherapy, you might have treatment to control your symptoms. You will usually see doctors or nurses who specialise in symptom control (palliative or supportive care).
If you are having problems with symptoms, you can see a member of the palliative care team at any time during treatment.