Having stomach cancer is not something that you would want to have happen to you, and fortunately there are treatment options available for people that have this type of cancer. Some of these options include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
Depending on the stage of your stomach cancer, surgery may be the best treatment for you. This type of surgery can remove all of the cancer, or it can be used to check for signs of cancer that has spread. Some cancer specialists specialize in this type of surgery.
Surgery can also be combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy to control symptoms and shrink the cancer. It can also be used as a way to reduce the risk of recurrence.
The goal of surgery is to relieve symptoms and look for cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby organs. If the cancer has spread, the surgeon might remove parts of the esophagus and small intestine. He or she might also remove part of the stomach.
Depending on the type of stomach cancer you have, you may have different chemotherapy options. The best way to figure out which treatment is right for you is to discuss your options with your health care provider. Your doctor will make sure you know the benefits and risks of each option.
Chemotherapy for stomach cancer treatment usually involves a combination of drugs and radiation. The purpose of this combination is to destroy the cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence. It is also used to help relieve symptoms. It is also used to shrink the tumor before surgery.
Some patients also receive immunotherapy. This drug activates the immune system, preventing the tumor from spreading. It can be very effective, especially when chemotherapy isn’t working.
Another type of chemotherapy is targeted drug therapy. This works by targeting certain proteins that are found in the cancer. It prevents the tumor from forming new blood vessels and stunts the growth of the tumor.
Historically, radiation therapy has been used to treat gastric cancer in conjunction with surgery. However, the role of radiation in this disease has evolved over time. In addition to improved surgical techniques, the integration of radiation therapy has led to modest improvements in local control.
Radiation therapy may be given to shrink a tumor or to kill cancer cells in nearby lymph nodes. This treatment usually is given in a short course. In some cases, it is given over a longer period.
Chemotherapy can also be combined with radiation. Chemotherapy works to destroy cancer cells by using drugs. These drugs can be taken in a pill or put into the bloodstream by a needle. They work by destroying certain proteins found in cancer cells.
In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are often used to treat advanced stomach cancer. Some patients are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy or adjuvant chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the disease. These treatments can cause significant weight loss. Some patients may require immunotherapy as well.
Several types of immunotherapy have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating gastric and other GI cancers. These agents help the immune system attack cancer cells and may help increase overall survival. However, they also come with side effects.
Immunotherapy involves the use of cytokines, checkpoint inhibitors, and vaccine therapies to help the immune system target cancer cells. These treatments have been shown to be effective in patients with advanced cancers.
One of the most commonly used immunotherapy for stomach cancer is the use of monoclonal antibodies to attach to proteins found on cancer cells. These antibodies inhibit the growth of tumors that are expressing the protein. Another is the use of programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) to kill cancer cells.
Targeted drug therapies
Several types of targeted drug therapies are being used for patients with stomach cancer. These drugs work by targeting specific proteins and signals in cancer cells. This means they are able to destroy cancer cells without causing harm to healthy cells. They also work with the body’s immune system, which can help if chemotherapy doesn’t work.
One type of targeted drug therapy, called ramucirumab, targets vascular endothelial growth factor, a protein that helps cancer cells grow. The drug is given through a vein with an IV infusion.
Another type of targeted drug therapy, called nivolumab, targets a protein called PD-L1. The molecule PD-L1 is found on many cancer cells and stops the body’s immune system from attacking them. The immune system can then attack the cancer. However, some people have side effects with nivolumab, including diarrhea, mouth sores, and nausea.