Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, starts in the tissue that makes up the lining of your stomach.
While the exact causes of stomach cancer aren’t known, it’s thought that diet and lifestyle play roles. Drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating smoked or processed meat may increase your risk. Certain infections, hereditary diseases, and even sores in the stomach can also be associated with stomach cancer.
The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which starts in the innermost layer of your stomach tissue. More rare types can grow in other layers, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), lymphomas and neuroendocrine tumors.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Signs of stomach cancer can be vague, or there could be no signs the early stages. By the time symptoms start, the cancer may be more advanced. It’s important to recognize the signs early for the best chance of survival.
Symptoms of stomach cancer can be mild at first and look like other conditions. See one of Valley’s experienced gastroenterologists if you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling full after a small meal
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Dark, sticky stool
- Trouble swallowing
- Excessive belching
Stomach Cancer Treatment at Valley
At Valley, you’ll have a team of specialists working with you and each other to treat your stomach cancer. Your care team may include gastroenterologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and others.
Together, our team will offer you the highest level of diagnostic and treatment expertise. We’ll work with you to make decisions about your care — tailoring your care to your specific needs and preferences.
Gastrectomy Cancer Surgery at Valley
Depending on the type of stomach cancer and where it’s located, surgery is often the first line of treatment.
This surgery, known as a gastrectomy, removes part of or the entire stomach. It also includes removing nearby lymph nodes and sometimes surrounding tissue and organs.
Our surgeons use these minimally invasive methods whenever possible:
- Laparoscopic gastrectomy: This approach involves a scope, or tube, with a light and camera at the end to see inside the abdomen. The surgeon uses small cuts and tiny tools to perform the procedure.
- Robotic-assisted gastrectomy: The surgeon uses robotic arms with tools at the end to perform the gastrectomy. Robotic surgery may offer better access into the abdomen and enhanced precision.
Minimally invasive surgery typically results in less pain and faster recovery.
Systemic Therapy for Stomach Cancer
Chemotherapy and surgery are the standard of care for stomach cancer. Your stomach cancer treatment may also include targeted therapies and/or immunotherapies.
Our experienced medical oncology team specializes in using precision medicine to determine the right therapies for your specific cancer. We often use next-generation sequencing (NGS) of your tumor tissue and genetic testing to help optimize your care.
We also offer clinical trials that may give you access to treatments that are not yet widely available.
Why Choose Valley for Stomach Cancer Care?
- Team-based expertise in gastrointestinal cancer: Through our partnership with Mount Sinai, our program brings the expertise of an academic medical center to a patient- and family-centered community setting. That means, you’ll get the best possible care from a team of specialists right here in northern New Jersey.
- Minimally invasive surgery: Whenever possible we use innovative minimally invasive surgical approaches, including robotic surgery. This typically results in less pain and a faster recovery.
- Access to clinical trials: We’re actively studying new ways to treat stomach cancer and other cancers that affect the digestive system. You may have access to clinical trials and innovative treatments that are not yet widely available.
- Supportive care: Our program offers cancer support services to help you adjust to life during and after your cancer treatment. This includes helping to address your nutritional needs and providing guidance on how to stay healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit.