Jefferson University Hospitals

Stomach Cancer

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Also called gastric cancer, stomach cancer can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout and to other organs. Stomach cancer can also grow along the stomach wall into other organs or lymph nodes.

Stomach cancer can be hard to find early. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages and, in many cases, it has spread before it is found. To confirm a diagnosis of stomach cancer, turn to the expert physicians at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Our physicians may request:

  • A fecal occult blood test - to check for hidden blood in the stool
  • An upper GI series of X-rays
  • Endoscopy with a thin, lighted tube called a gastroscope

To find out whether any other organs are affected, we may order a CT scan, an ultrasound exam or other tests.

Before developing a treatment plan that's right for you, we take into consideration the size and location of the tumor, results of the lab tests, the stage or extent of the disease, the degree to which it has spread and your age and general health, as well as your preferences about treatment options.

Treating Stomach Cancer

There are two methods for treating stomach cancer – local and systemic.

Local treatments are used to remove, destroy or control the cancer cells in a specific area. Surgery (a gastrectomy) and radiation therapy are considered local treatments. Jefferson is home to the region's busiest radiation oncology center and one of the largest programs for cancer treatment in the Delaware Valley. Our radiation oncologists subspecialize in tumor types and specialized therapies and are seeking to improve outcomes of cancer patients, in part through carefully combined and sequenced therapies.

Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that utilizes certain drugs to kill cancer cells. Our physicians are experienced in using the most advanced treatment methods and technologies and are at the forefront of developing new chemotherapies. In fact, a new form of chemotherapy is available at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Called interstitial chemotherapy, chemotherapy-soaked wafers are inserted directly into the cavity left after the removal of cancerous tissue.

You may receive just one form of treatment or a combination of both.