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Get supportive, expert care for your unique needs with our individualized approach to stomach cancer treatment. Whether you are seeking a diagnosis or searching for new hope for advanced stomach cancer, we will set you on the care path that’s right for you.
What We Offer for Stomach Cancer
Specialized expertise in diagnosing and treating all types and stages of stomach cancer, and comprehensive genetic counseling to help you understand the risks to you and your family.
Advanced treatment options, including robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgical approaches, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for cancers that have advanced beyond the stomach, and leading-edge immunotherapy approaches that help the immune system completely eradicate the tumor.
Team-based approach from surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists who work together to give you the best possible care.
Clinical trials that offer eligible patients access to the latest breakthroughs in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
Comprehensive support services to help you and your family focus on health and healing.
Ease of access to cancer care at locations throughout the Bay Area.
Connect to Care
Let us help find personalized care options for you and your family.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely, and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!
At Stanford Health Care, our team takes the time to explain your treatment options and answer any questions you may have. We work closely with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Type and stage of cancer
Size and location of the tumor, and whether it has spread
Your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Surgery is the most common treatment for stomach cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the entire tumor and any cancer cells that may have spread (metastasized) to nearby tissue. Depending on the stage of the cancer, surgery may be the only treatment that you need. You may have surgery before or after another treatment.
Your doctor may recommend an open (traditional) approach or a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, which uses smaller incisions and involves less recovery time. At Stanford Health Care, our team is skilled at robot-assisted techniques. The surgeon controls the operating tools with the assistance of a specially designed robot, allowing us to make procedures more precise.
Types of stomach cancer surgery include:
Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR): During this procedure, doctors remove tumors using an endoscope inserted down the throat. Doctors typically use EMR to treat early-stage stomach cancer.
Subtotal (partial) gastrectomy: The surgeon removes a portion of the stomach and may also remove lymph nodes, part of the esophagus or intestine, and other organs (such as the spleen). The surgeon attaches the remaining part of the stomach to the remaining part of the esophagus or intestine.
Total gastrectomy: Doctors use this surgery to treat more advanced stomach cancers. They remove the entire stomach and may remove other organs as well. Then, they connect the esophagus to the small intestine, creating a way for food to pass through the digestive system.
Palliative surgery: For more advanced cancers, the goal of surgery may not be to cure the disease. Instead, surgeons focus on relieving symptoms or preventing complications. Examples of palliative surgery include inserting a feeding tube or performing a gastric bypass (gastrojejunostomy). When a tumor is making digestion difficult, this procedure creates a new way for food to leave the stomach.
Cancer drugs destroy cancer cells or help your body fight them. You may need them along with other treatments. They include:
Chemotherapy:Several types of medications shrink or destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can also prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.
Immunotherapy: A type of biologic therapy, these innovative medications help your body’s immune system fight disease. The drugs enable your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Targeted therapy (biologic therapy): This type of drug therapy interferes with the growth of cancer cells. The medications destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. These treatments are customized based on the exact type of cancer cell.
Medications to relieve pain:Several types of pain medications can reduce discomfort and improve your quality of life.
You may receive cancer medications by mouth (orally) or as an injection or infusion (intravenously, or IV). In some cases, we may recommend receiving cancer medications using a method called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC. With HIPEC, doctors apply high-dose chemotherapy directly to the surgical site, after removing the tumor.
At Stanford Health Care, we have the most experienced HIPEC team in Northern California. We specialize in this advanced treatment, which involves fewer side effects than intravenous chemotherapy.
Most commonly, doctors use external radiation (external beam therapy) to treat stomach cancer. This painless treatment uses a machine to send high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells, which destroys them. Our team is skilled at using several types of external radiation therapy:
3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT): With this method, 3D images help the doctor better target the tumor. We create the images using a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Your doctor can aim the beams of radiation from many different angles to match the exact shape of the cancer.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): IMRT is similar to 3D-CRT, but the doctor can adjust how much radiation you get from each beam. In certain situations, this adjustment enables the doctor to avoid nearby healthy cells to reduce the risk of side effects.
Our team offers advanced genetic testing and counseling to assess your risk, and your family’s risk, of stomach cancer. We use the latest technology to look at many genes at once, allowing us to identify inherited cancer conditions and gene mutations that increase the risk of cancer.
We combine this information with your family history and medical background to create a customized plan for you and your family. This plan may include preventive care and screenings that can detect cancer earlier, when it’s easier to treat. Genetic testing also helps us develop treatment plans and manage disease.
Combining Surgery with Other Treatments
To achieve the best possible outcome, your care team may recommend combining surgery with other treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. You may receive additional treatment in one of two ways:
Neoadjuvant therapy: This treatment occurs before surgery to make it easier and more effective. Undergoing chemotherapy before surgery, for example, may shrink a tumor and make removal more successful.
Adjuvant therapy: This treatment occurs after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery can destroy remaining cancer cells.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest advanced clinical trials through the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Open trials refer to studies that are currently recruiting participants or that may recruit participants soon. Closed trials are not currently enrolling additional patients.