Treatment options for gastric cancer depend on the size and location of the tumor, the stage of the disease, and the individual’s age and overall health. For early-stage tumors, the goal is to cure the disease; for advanced cases in which a cure is unlikely, the goal is to reduce pain and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Surgery to remove the tumor is the only curative treatment for stomach cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used along with surgery or as part of a palliative course of treatment.
Gastroectomy is the most common treatment for stomach cancer. In this procedure, all or part of the stomach is removed, as may parts of nearby tissues or organs if the cancer has spread there. Afterward, the esophagus is directly attached to the small intestine. This is a major operation that requires a large incision, and 1 to 2 percent of stomach cancer surgery patients die from the surgery (that percentage increases to 5 to 15 percent when surgeons also remove the lymph nodes).