Stomach Cancer Treatment

Stomach Cancer Treatment

MSK gastric surgeon, Daniel Coit, dressed in his scrubs while working on a computer

Daniel Coit is among MSK’s many experts in cancer surgery.

In recent years, cancer doctors have been better able to find and then treat stomach cancer at an earlier stage. That means more people are surviving stomach cancer.

When cancer is caught early, it may be removed during a procedure called a endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD). MSK experts in ESD do among the highest number of these procedures in the country.

When the cancer is still at stages 1 to 3, surgery is the most common treatment. A gastrectomy is a surgery to remove part or all of the stomach.

At MSK, we’re always working to improve stomach cancer treatments. We have better ways to describe the stage of the disease. We also have better ways of matching treatments to the type of gastric cancer.

There also are many improvements in surgery technology. Minimally invasive surgery offers benefits over open surgery, the usual method for surgery. Minimally invasive methods cause less harm to the body. They cause less pain and can lower the risk cancer will come back.

Benefits of minimally invasive cancer surgery include:

  • Less loss of blood.
  • A shorter hospital stay.
  • A faster recovery.
  • Less scarring.
  • Less risk of infection.
  • Fewer complications (problems) during and after surgery.

Why choose MSK to treat stomach cancer?

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is known for its team of gastric cancer experts.  We see more people with gastric cancer than any other cancer center in the United States.

MSK’s robotic gastric cancer program does more robotic gastrectomies than any other hospital in the country. Our surgeons have done nearly 1,000 gastric cancer procedures, using the latest robotic methods.

Each year, MSK gastric cancer experts:

  • See more than 200 people just diagnosed with gastric cancer.
  • Do about 150 gastric cancer procedures.

As well, MSK does more endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) procedures than most hospitals in the country. MSK is one of the country’s highest-volume centers for ESD, a method for removing early gastric cancer. ESD lets us remove cancer from the surface of the stomach while leaving the stomach in place. MSK has performed more than 700 ESD procedures.

MSK is one of the few National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers that has a program just for upper gastrointestinal tract cancers.

MSK’s gastric cancer survival and cure rates are better than the nationally published rates. Our surgeons are experts in gastric cancer, so they have better treatment results with fewer complications.

Convenient locations

You can visit MSK stomach cancer experts closer to home, not just in Manhattan. We offer the same outstanding care from MSK doctors at our locations in:

The latest stomach cancer treatments

MSK offers proximal gastrectomies with double-tract resection. This is a new type of surgery for stomach cancer. It saves more of the stomach by only removing the top part. MSK is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. that offers this treatment.

We also are the biggest referral center for Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer and for people who carry a CDH1 gene mutation.

When cancer is caught early, it may be removed during a procedure called a endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD). MSK experts in ESD do among the highest number of these procedures in the country.

An endoscopic submucosal dissection (en-doh-SKAH-piksub-myoo-KOH-sul dy-SEK-shun) procedure is minimally invasive. During an ESD, we can remove even large tumors in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

These tumors must only be in the most inner layers of the stomach, not through the full stomach wall. An ESD lets us cut cancer out from the surface of the stomach while leaving the stomach in place.

Treatments for advanced gastric cancer

For more advanced stomach cancer, your care team may recommend treatments together with surgery. This can include chemotherapyradiation therapy, or both. These therapies may help you live longer and have fewer symptoms.

The latest stomach cancer research and clinical trials

MSK treats more gastric cancer cases than any other hospital in the country. That lets us study every subtype of gastric cancer. We also have the top scientists in the world, who work to unravel the mysteries of gastric cancer. They’re exploring why some gastric cancers respond to treatment while others do not.

At MSK, you may be able to join clinical trials that are not offered at most other hospitals. We have clinical trials for people with stomach cancer at early and advanced stages.

You can learn more about all our clinical trials for gastric cancers.

Choosing the best treatment plan for you

Your care plan will be based on:

  • The cancer’s location.
  • How deep it is in your stomach.
  • If it has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body.
  • Whether you already had treatments for stomach cancer.
  • The tumor’s biomarkers (a sign of a certain trait).

Managing symptoms and side effects

At MSK, we focus on all aspects of cancer care, not just treating the disease. Our experts in supportive care can help you cope with treatment side effects. This includes pain, nausea (feeling like throwing up), and fatigue (feeling very tired).

We have information about how our Supportive Care Service can help you throughout the cancer experience.

MSK Recommends

One way to help with stomach cancer symptoms after surgery is to eat smaller meals more often. We may prescribe dietary vitamin supplements to help you get the nutrition you need. The stomach plays an important role in absorbing vitamins.

Some people wonder about cannabis and gastric cancer. Cannabis, also called marijuana, is a type of plant. Medical cannabis may help with some side effects of stomach cancer treatment.

For example, it can help with pain and nausea. We have information about cannibis, possible uses, and side effects.

Our pain experts can help if you’re in pain during your treatments. We will build a plan that makes sense for you and your needs. Our experts will work with your doctor and pharmacist. They can help with:

  • Acute pain (comes on suddenly)
  • Chronic pain (lasts a long time).

Our goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible. You can learn more about how MSK experts can help relieve your pain.

When your treatment ends, you will still see your doctor regularly for follow-up exams and tests. Call your doctor right away if you feel any new symptoms.

Living beyond stomach cancer

At MSK, we know you may need help even after you finished your cancer treatments. We’re here to support your body, mind, and spirit for as long as you need us. You can learn more about all MSK Living Beyond Cancer resources.

MSK has a special program for cancer survivors and their families. Our Adult Survivorship Program has many services for you and your loved ones. This includes support groups, follow-up programs, educational resources, and other services.

Our Resources for Life After Cancer program offers many services. They include individual and family counseling, lectures and support groups, and practical advice on employment and insurance issues. Visit the Adult Survivorship Program to learn more.

MSK offers resources to help you with the lasting effects of cancer on your body, emotions, and daily life. Your survivorship team expert can help you choose resources that are best for you, including:

  • Pain management
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Integrative medicine therapies
  • Skin, nail, and hair health
  • Sexual health and fertility

Request an Appointment

Call 800-525-2225
Available Monday through Friday, to (Eastern time)