The stomach cancer specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian are experienced in diagnosing and treating stomach cancer, using combinations of treatments to customize a care plan for each patient. We also offer clinical trials of new therapies that hold promise for extending the lives of people with stomach cancer.
How is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed?
There are several tests used to diagnose stomach cancer and determine how far it’s progressed.
- Upper endoscopy - This examination requires a small tube with a camera at its tip inserted into the stomach to help detect abnormalities
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) - If stomach cancer is confirmed, this type of ultrasound helps determine the tumor's size and if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby organs
- Confocal laser endomicroscopy - This process produces enhanced images of the stomach wall to detect and treat early cancers that are not visible by other methods
- Imaging tests - High-resolution computed tomography (CT or CAT) scanning and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning helps assess the cancer's size and development
Stomach Cancer Treatments
Several different stomach cancer treatment options are available depending on the type and stage.
Stomach cancer surgery
If the stomach cancer is operable, a range of surgeries are available to excise it depending on the type and stage, from laparoscopic surgery featuring tiny incisions and quicker recovery time to full stomach reconstruction.
Minimally invasive stomach cancer surgery
If your stomach cancer is operable, our surgeons may perform a subtotal or partial gastrectomy (removal of part of the stomach containing the cancer) or a total gastrectomy (removal of the entire stomach, connecting the esophagus to the small intestine).
- Laparoscopy - Results in smaller incisions, less blood loss and less pain after surgery, a quicker recovery, and a shorter hospital stay
- Robotic stomach cancer surgery - Patients who can have minimally invasive surgery may have it performed robotically. The robot enables your surgeon to operate with greater magnification of the surgical field and more precision in using surgical instruments
- GIST surgery - If you have a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) — a rare and slow-growing type of gastric tumor that usually begins in the lining of the stomach — doctors may use a combination of endoscopy and laparoscopy to remove the tumor
- D-2 lymphadenectomy - A technically challenging surgical procedure performed during gastric cancer surgery that removes cancerous lymph nodes and reduces the chance of further cancer spreading
- Stomach reconstruction - There are three major stomach cancer reconstructive surgeries: gastroduodenostomy, gastrojejunostomy, and Roux-en-Y. The choice of procedure depends on your health status and surgical preference. If stomach surgery is an option for you, your surgeon will discuss your reconstruction choices, which are designed to help you retain stomach function
Chemotherapy, given in intravenous infusions, may be used before or during surgery to shrink the size of the tumor, or it could be used after surgery to kill off any remaining cancerous cells.
- Trastuzumab - If you have a stomach cancer that makes too much of a protein called HER2, you may receive trastuzumab, which targets this protein
- Imatinib - People with GIST most often receive imatinib, a targeted chemotherapy drug extremely effective for treating this type of cancer. You can take it each day by mouth at home
- Advanced cytotoxic chemotherapy - Most individuals with stomach cancer will benefit from chemotherapy
Precise radiation therapy may be used in concert with chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Immunotherapy is the use of drugs to boost the immune system so that it can better discover and kill cancer cells.
Targeted drug therapy
Chemotherapy works by killing fast-growing cells to treat stomach cancer and thus has side effects of normal growing cells in your body. Newer drugs are being developed that work differently than chemotherapy. They inhibit specific growth pathways that are used by cancer cells. These drugs often come in pill form.
You may be able to participate in a clinical trial, whether you are receiving chemotherapy for the first time or you have received it before. Clinical trials offer patients more options and an opportunity to receive cutting-edge treatment based on our advanced understanding of disease biology.
Survival is dependent on the disease's stage. The treatment goal for all patients except those with stage IV disease is to cure the disease.
The first signs of stomach cancer include feeling full after eating small amounts, unexplained weight loss, anemia (low blood count), and nausea or vomiting.
Once stomach cancer starts growing, it can typically grow for many months to a few years before it’s detected.
Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Stomach Cancer Treatment
Our expert team of gastrointestinal specialists in interventional endoscopy, radiology, surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology work together to provide advanced, customized care for each patient. Find out more about how we can help.