In order to choose the best gastric cancer treatment option, you and your doctor will likely need to evaluate three main factors; your general overall health, the stage of your cancer, and the size and location of your tumor. Treatments for this type of cancer can include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and you may also want to see if you qualify for clinical trials of new treatment options. In addition to your health and the specific nature of your disease, you may also wish to look at the risks with certain treatments to see if they outweigh the potential benefits, and also evaluate if you can live with the side effects.
One of the primary considerations when selecting a gastric cancer treatment is a patient's general health. All of the treatment options can be very physically demanding, and if you are weak and in poor health, you may not be able to stand the necessary procedures. If the risk of giving a particular treatment is greater than its potential positive effects, or if your cancer is very late stage and a certain treatment is unlikely to help you much, you may need to consider other options.
The right choice of gastric cancer treatment is very dependent on what stage your cancer is at, as well as how large your tumor is and where it is located. A small, early stage tumor may be relatively easy to remove surgically, with some follow-up chemotherapy or radiation to ensure all cancerous cells are killed. A larger tumor may require radiation and chemotherapy before surgery to shrink it, and might also mean some or all of the stomach needs to be removed. If your cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs, surgery may need to be more extensive, or may not be possible, meaning radiation and chemotherapy may be the only options. In all cases, the earlier your cancer is detected and treated, the better your chances of being cured.
Another consideration you will likely have when picking a gastric cancer treatment is whether its possible benefits are greater than its risks. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, as well as any new treatments still being tested, all carry risks and can have some very negative side effects. If the likelihood of a given treatment to improve your quality of life, extend your life, or cure your cancer is too low, it may not be your best choice.