This can be an effective method to treat early stage stomach cancer. During surgery, the doctor may remove part or all of the stomach. In the advanced stages of stomach cancer, surgery may still be recommended to reduce complications such as blockage of the stomach or bleeding from the cancer.
After surgery, radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, may be administered together with chemotherapy to destroy remnants of the cancer not removed during surgery. In patients with advanced stomach cancer, radiotherapy may be useful for relieving stomach obstruction. Radiotherapy may also be used to stop bleeding from cancers that cannot be operated on.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to help kill cancer cells and shrink the size of the tumour. It can be given by itself or combined with radiotherapy after surgery. Chemotherapy may also be used to reduce symptoms or prolong life in patients with advanced stomach cancer that cannot be operated upon.
Some stomach cancers have too much of a growth-promoting protein called HER2 on the surface of the cancer cells. Tumours with increased levels of HER2 are called HER2-positive. Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is a man-made antibody which targets the HER2 protein. Using this drug with chemotherapy can help patients suffering from advanced, HER2-positive stomach cancer live longer than just chemotherapy alone.
How to Prevent Stomach Cancer?
In many developed countries, where refrigeration has allowed a greater intake of fresh rather than salt-preserved foods, rates of stomach cancer have fallen over the years. Here are steps we can take to reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer:
- Consume more fruits and vegetables
- Reduce intake of salt and smoked foods
- Stop smoking
- Know your medical history and undergo regular gastroscopy screening if you have a history of Helicobacter pylori infection