Surgery is typically the treatment for stomach cancer, depending on how far the disease has spread, according to the American Cancer Society. For individuals with stage IV cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are treatment methods that help decrease the size of the cancer and alleviate symptoms.
Doctors usually treat stage 0 stomach cancers with surgery only, as the cancers affect the stomach’s interior lining layer and have not reached deeper layers yet, states the American Cancer Society. The primary surgical treatments for stage 0, stage IA, stage IB, stage II and stage III cancers are subtotal gastrectomy, in which part of the stomach is removed, and total gastrectomy wherein the whole stomach is removed.
For patients with stage IB, stage II and stage III cancers, surgeons may recommend chemotherapy or chemoradiation, which combines chemotherapy and radiation therapy, prior to surgery, says the American Cancer Society. Doctors observe removed lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread. They may recommend further chemo or chemoradiation treatment if the lymph nodes show the presence of cancer.
Stage IV stomach cancer often is not curable, as the disease has already reached other organs of the body, notes the American Cancer Society. Doctors may suggest a gastric bypass or a subtotal gastrectomy to prevent obstruction of the stomach or intestines or to minimize bleeding.