Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a cancer that starts in the lining of the stomach. It usually grows slowly over many years.

Types of stomach cancers

Different types of stomach cancer include adenocarcinoma, which includes 90 percent to 95 percent of cancers of the stomach. These cancers develop from the cells that form the innermost lining of the stomach (known as the mucosa). Lymphomas are cancers of the immune system tissue that are sometimes found in the wall of the stomach Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are rare tumors that start in very early forms of specialized cells in the wall of the stomach called interstitial cells of Cajal. Although GISTs can be found anywhere in the digestive tract, most are found in the stomach. Carcinoid tumors are tumors that start in hormone-making cells of the stomach. Most of these tumors do not spread to other organs and can be observed if small.

Screening

Upper endoscopy (also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy orEGD) is the primary test used to find stomach cancer. It may be used when someone has certain risk factors or when signs and symptoms suggest this cancer may be present.

During this procedure, the gastroenterologist advances a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end, into your mouth and down your esophagus. This lets the doctor see the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. If abnormal areas are seen or cancer is suspected, biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken using instruments passed through the endoscope.

Treatments

Jupiter Medical Center offers treatment for cancers of the stomach at all stages. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that every patient receives a customized treatment plan. Our surgeons collaborate with experts in advanced gastroenterology, who perform an endoscopic ultrasound and needle biopsy, if indicated, to ensure an accurate staging determination.

Staging for gastric cancer determines the role for chemotherapy, either before or after surgery. Once this thorough evaluation is complete, our surgeons collaborate with colleagues in medical oncology to construct a treatment plan that will help ensure the best possible outcome.

Subtotal or total gastrectomy

In patients with tumors that are located in a higher position, the majority of the stomach or the entire stomach may need to be resected to ensure that the cancer is completely removed with surrounding lymph nodes. The downstream intestine is then reattached to the stomach remnant, allowing normal food intake and digestion. Each of our patients receives a thorough consultation with a certified nutritionist prior to discharge home to ensure they learn how to maintain a healthy diet following subtotal or total gastrectomy.

Laparoscopic gastrectomy

In certain cases where the cancer is early stage, or is a less aggressive type of stomach tumor, our surgeons can perform gastrectomy using minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic surgery results in smaller scars and generally allows patients a shorter hospital stay with quicker recovery times.

Regional lymphadenectomy

In a study of all patients undergoing gastrectomy in the United States, only 10 percent of patients received the D2 lymph node dissection that is recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's guidelines for gastric cancer. Our surgical oncologist (insert hyperlink to Dr. Bhagwandin) is specially trained in techniques to remove the lymph nodes surrounding the stomach to maximize accurate staging.