Duke’s stomach cancer specialists use the latest medical and surgical advances to find and treat stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, at the earliest possible stage. We give you personalized care to aggressively treat your stomach cancer, while letting you enjoy the highest quality of life and health possible.
Medical advances in stomach cancer
If you or someone you know is concerned about stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, you need a healthcare team that uses the most effective techniques and treatments. You also need a thorough team that minimizes the chances of missing any cancer cells. Our gastrointestinal cancer doctors and surgeons work closely with patients with stomach cancer every day. We are trained and experienced in performing the most advanced testing to confirm the presence of stomach cancer. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, we ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment for the stage and type of stomach cancer you have.
Choose Duke for your stomach cancer treatment because we offer:
- Nationally ranked cancer program. Duke is consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our team is recognized for exploring new treatment opportunities through ongoing research and clinical trials. We offer you the latest discoveries before they are available elsewhere. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
- Pre-surgical treatments. We are national leaders in using chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery to shrink stomach cancer tumors. Our approach has proven to reduce complications and improve outcomes.
- Targeted therapies. We use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer for your specific type of stomach cancer. Targeted therapies are often combined with chemotherapy. If you have advanced stomach cancer, this approach may extend your life.
- Access to clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which give you access to new anti-cancer targeted therapies, new approaches to surgery, and ways to minimize common cancer-related symptoms before they become widely available.
- More minimally invasive options. We perform many stomach surgeries with a laparoscope, which is inserted through small incisions. This is less invasive method identifies, and sometimes removes, cancer. As a result, you’ll experience less pain and scarring, lower chance for infection, leave the hospital sooner and recover faster.
- A team of specialists. Our specialists — medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, specially trained nurses, nutritionists and social workers — meet regularly to discuss your care. We work together to offer you coordinated and advanced surgical, medical and follow-up care.
- Support for you and your family. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.
- Comforting environment. Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
Often the main treatment option for stomach cancer. Whenever possible, we use small incisions and a small tube (laparoscope) with a camera on its end to see inside your abdomen while performing surgery. Surgery may allow us to remove the tumor or to accurately determine the stage of your cancer before nonsurgical treatment.
A partial gastrectomy surgically removes part of your stomach. A total gastrectomy removes your entire stomach. Lymph nodes and nearby organs may also be removed if cancer has spread. If your entire stomach is removed, your esophagus may be attached to your small intestine to help you eat and digest normally.
When a tumor creates a blockage, your doctor may insert an expanding metal scaffolding device, called a stent, through a small lighted endoscope, to clear the blockage.
Kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. Our medical oncologists routinely combine the newest chemotherapy drugs with standard drug regimens to achieve a better response, fewer side effects, and improved quality of life. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink tumors, or after surgery to prevent their recurrence. Chemotherapy also may be the best treatment for stomach cancer that has spread to other organs.
Usually given externally through high energy beams, or internally by implanting seeds, wires or wafers to shrink or kill stomach cancers. Your doctor will recommend the best approach based on the stage and size of your stomach cancer. We are national leaders in using radiation before surgery to reduce complications and improve outcomes. It may also be used to relieve symptoms when tumors cannot be surgically removed.
Stops tumors from growing by targeting a protein in the cancer called HER2. May be combined with chemotherapy to help extend survival in patients with advanced stomach cancer.
Looks for the presence of substances that may indicate cancer, including blood in the stools.
A tissue sample is taken, often through an endoscope — a small tube with a camera — that is inserted through the nose, mouth or stomach. This tissue is examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer.
X-rays, endoscopic ultrasound, CT, MRI and PET may be used to diagnose your tumor, determine if it has spread, and to evaluate your response to treatments.