If you recently completed stomach cancer treatment, you may be feeling relieved or excited, and perhaps a bit uncertain. Is your cancer completely gone? If so, will it come back? Your concerns are valid, and your oncologist can provide individualized advice and guidance on how you can reduce the likelihood of recurrence. You may also find it helpful to know that many stomach cancer survivors learn to live with the uncertainty and lead full and active lives.
What to expect
Now that you’ve completed stomach cancer treatment, here are four things that you can expect:
- Ongoing follow-up – Your health care team will want to monitor you closely through regular follow-up appointments. During these visits, a medical professional will perform a physical examination and ask if you are experiencing any changes or problems. You may also have periodic lab or imaging tests to help identify signs of cancer recurrence or treatment side effects.
- Dietary changes – If part or all of your stomach has been removed, your physician or nutritionist may adjust your diet. For instance, you may be instructed to eat smaller amounts of food more often and to keep your body positioned upright for a certain amount of time after eating.
- Rapid gastric emptying (dumping syndrome) – You may experience nausea, diarrhea, sweating or flushing after eating. These symptoms may occur as the food you swallow passes very quickly into your intestines. Your physician can explain how to minimize your discomfort, which should decrease over time.
- Fatigue – Bone-weary exhaustion is common after stomach cancer treatment, and even though you may not feel up to exercising, you’ll likely find that physical activity helps you feel better. However, be sure to talk with your health care team before starting any type of workout program. It will be essential for you to maintain an appropriate balance between activity and rest.
If you have further questions about the road ahead, you are welcome to consult with a specialist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. We understand that stomach cancer treatment can have a significant impact on every aspect of your life, and we are committed to doing everything possible to help you cope and adjust.