Gastric Cancer Therapy
To treat the gastric cancer, a number of treatments have been evolved. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and chemoradiation therapy are some of the standard treatment on stomach cancer. Surgery involves removal of the tumor from the location of the cancer by surgical method. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy involves treating the cancer cells by radiations and drugs. Your doctor will decide a suitable gastric cancer therapy after diagnosing the stage of the disease.
Certain factors such as the extent at which your cancer is spread, your personal health and preferences decides which gastric cancer therapy can work well on you. During the medical and physical examination, your doctor will conduct particular tests that help to know your gastric cancer stage (the extent of the spread of tumor). Once you observe any abnormalities that indicate the development of cancer, visiting your doctor is recommended. Getting your disease diagnosed at the onset is beneficial to get better results of the treatments.
How radiation therapy works as a gastric cancer therapy?
Radiation therapy is the most common gastric cancer therapy. In this therapy, high intensity energy waves are used to target and kill the cancer cells. Generally, this therapy is not used if the cancer is at early stage, although some clinical trials introduce the combination of chemotherapy with radiotherapy in order to stop the cancer form returning or recurring. Mostly, this therapy is used after performing the surgery. Radiotherapy can be used to shrink the cancer at advanced stage. This may ease the patient from the emerging pain. Radiotherapy can be considered as a significant part of the gastric cancer treatment.
Nevertheless, since stomach cancer is not completely treated with radiation therapy, it is essential for the patients to prefer a medical centre that is well equipped with a number a modality treatment options which involve radiation oncologists, medical gastroenterologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, and nutritionists. The main objective to opt for radiation therapy is to kill the cancer cells that may otherwise endure and continue the cancerous conditions in the patient. High intensity radiations are used to target the cancer cells and kill them. These radiations can target the cancer cells at the original location, nearby lymph nodes as well as the organs. This therapy uses a device which is called as linear accelerator. This device helps to target the cells outside the stomach. Generally, radiation therapy is not used alone to treat the gastric cancer primarily, since the radiations in combination with chemotherapy seem to be more effective. Usually, radiation therapy is used as an analgesic therapy for patients who are not able to tolerate the pain of surgery as well as chemotherapy or patients who have terminal stomach cancer. However, in these circumstances, patients usually receive simultaneous radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy
How chemotherapy works as a gastric cancer therapy?
Chemotherapy induces particular drugs and medicines in the veins of the patient. This either helps to kill the cancer cells or restrict their growth. Chemotherapy can be used to treat the different cancer phases. Stage IB, stage II, stage III and stage IV gastric cancer can be treated with this therapy. Chemotherapy can be used as a primary treatment option when the cancer gets spread into the lymph nodes as well as organs at distant levels (bones, lungs etc).
Pre surgery and post surgery Chemotherapy:
In rare cases, chemotherapy can be used for a patient before undergoing surgery. This type of therapy is termed as neoadjuvant therapy. For instance, if the cancer cells have damaged the lymph nodes, but the disease has not spread into the other distant organs then your medical oncologist may prefer chemotherapy before your surgery. This type of chemotherapy is helpful to reduce the impact of the tumor. Chemotherapy can also be used with a combination of radiotherapy as a neoadjuvant therapy.
When the chemotherapy treatment is performed after the surgery, it is termed as adjuvant therapy. It may also be performed in combination with the radiation therapy. This combination of therapies is known as chemoradiation, and patients may receive both types of therapies within the same time duration. Adjuvant therapy is helpful to kill the gastric cancer cells that may remain after undergoing surgery.
Both these therapies are helpful to target and destroy the cancer cells before or after the surgery. Your physical condition and preferences will decide the precise gastric cancer therapy for you.