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Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer - Treatments

There are a few effective treatment options for stomach cancer. In general, treatment for stomach cancer depends on the following factors:

  • size, location, and extent of the tumour
  • stage of the disease when the cancer is found
  • patient’s general state of health

The main treatment for stomach cancer is surgery. However chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be required for some patients. Endoscopic resection may be possible for very early cancers confined to the mucosa. In advanced stage disease, chemotherapy is generally used in combination with surgery, and radiotherapy may also be administered.

New treatment approaches such as immunotherapy, have been shown in clinical trials to be effective for certain types of stomach cancer.

An individual with cancer should be assessed by a specialist to determine which treatment is best suited for them.


Surgery for stomach cancer is known as gastrectomy. There are two types of gastrectomy:

  • Partial or subtotal gastrectomy is the removal of a part of the stomach. After a partial gastrectomy, the surgeon will connect the remaining portion of the stomach to the oesophagus or the small intestine, depending on which part of the stomach was removed.
  • Total gastrectomy is the removal of the entire stomach, suspicious lymph nodes near the stomach and other surrounding tissue. After a total gastrectomy, the surgeon will connect the oesophagus directly to the small intestine.

gastrectomy for stomach cancer


Chemotherapy is sometimes recommended after surgery if there is a risk that the cancer might return. It may also be used before surgery to shrink the cancer, so that it is more likely to be removed completely during surgery.

In patients with advanced stomach cancer, chemotherapy may be used alone or with targeted drug therapy.


Radiotherapy uses powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. It can also be used before surgery to shrink the cancer so that it is more easily removed during surgery. In some instances, the doctor may recommend radiotherapy to reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence after surgery.

Targeted therapy

Targeted drug treatments work by blocking specific weaknesses present within cancer cells, causing the cancer cells to die. Targeted drug therapy is usually combined with chemotherapy for treating advanced or recurrent stomach cancer.


Immunotherapy is a drug treatment that helps a patient’s immune system fight cancer. Immunotherapy may be recommended if the stomach cancer is advanced, recurs or spreads to other parts of the body.

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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