Gastric Cancer Treatments

Your care team will tailor your gastric cancer treatment plan to your unique needs. Gastric cancer treatment depends on your overall health, the extent of the disease and your tolerance for different therapies.

Your Gastric Cancer Treatment Team

Northwestern Medicine offers comprehensive, compassionate care in modern, patient-centered facilities. Your cancer care team may include:

  • Surgical oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Palliative medicine physicians
  • Pathologists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Social workers
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Geneticists
  • Rehabilitation therapists

Cancer Care Closer to Home

Addressing cancer is a multistep journey that may require many visits. During treatment, you need to focus your energy on getting healthy, not getting to the next appointment. That’s why treatment and support services at Northwestern Medicine are conveniently located throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, so you can get quick access to all the expertise and support you need, close to home.

Treatment options will likely include a combination of the following treatments.

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD): These noninvasive approaches may be a good option for small tumors in the innermost layers of the stomach lining. After this procedure, more therapy with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation may be recommended. The interventional gastroenterologists at Northwestern Medicine have the expertise and experience in the latest noninvasive approaches for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Surgery: Removal of part or all of the stomach is often recommended for a tumor that has not spread to other parts of the body. Removal of the stomach may be done using minimally invasive surgery, including robotic-assisted surgery. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be recommended either before or after surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is medication that is administered through your veins (intravenously) or by mouth (orally) to eliminate cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used to:
    • Shrink cancer before surgery
    • Eliminate cancer cells that may have spread either before or after surgery
    • Control the growth and spread of cancer that cannot be operated on

      In addition to chemotherapy, other medications like monoclonal antibodies or immunotherapy may be appropriate, based on the special staining that was completed on the biopsy or surgical specimen.
  • Radiation: Radiation is delivered using a radiation beam from a linear accelerator (linac) directed to the tumor using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance. The CT or MRI guidance allows the most radiation to be directed to the tumor while minimizing radiation to the normal tissue around the tumor.
  • Palliative medicine: Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and how your body responds to treatment. Northwestern Medicine is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms. The palliative medicine specialists may help:
    • Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing difficulties and weight loss.
    • Treat any emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
    • Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments.
    • Help you better understanding tests, procedures and other options.
    • Guide you and those who care for you to helpful resources.

      From your initial diagnosis and continuing throughout your care, your palliative care team will support you during your cancer journey.
  • Supportive care: Your care team at Northwestern Medicine may also include registered dietitians who can help you navigate diet changes that may come with your treatment.
  • Clinical trials: Clinical trials are research studies that help doctors find ways to prevent and treat cancer. Almost every cancer treatment today is the result of a clinical trial. Clinical trials may be available for gastric cancer at any time in your treatment plan. Your cancer specialist can discuss clinical trials available that may be a good fit for you.

Find clinical trials offered at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine and talk with your physician to decide if a clinical trial is right for you.

Related Resources

Gastric Cancer Treatment Guide