Oncologists often recommend chemotherapy as a treatment for patients with stomach cancer. Chemo uses powerful medications to destroy rapidly dividing cells; the medications are usually given orally (as a pill) or intravenously (as an injection). Several different medications can be used, but most patients receive a custom blend of two or more agents.
Chemotherapy medications can help destroy a primary tumor, as well as cancerous cells that have spread from the stomach to other parts of the body. In some cases, chemo may be a patient’s only treatment, although it is more often combined with surgery or radiation therapy. One common treatment sequence for patients with stomach cancer is two or three cycles of chemotherapy to help shrink a tumor, followed by surgery to remove the tumor, followed by two or three additional cycles of chemotherapy to attempt to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
The oncologists who design a patient’s chemotherapy plan are known as medical oncologists; they often work hand in hand with other oncologists and surgeons to determine the best way to integrate chemotherapy into a patient’s treatment plan. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our medical oncologists evaluate:
- The unique cellular makeup of a tumor
- The size and location of a tumor, and whether it has started to spread to other organs
- The other treatments a patient has received or will be receiving
- The patient’s age and overall health
- The patient’s response to past chemotherapy drugs, if applicable
By working closely with a patient’s other oncologists, our medical oncologists create individualized chemotherapy plans designed to help achieve the overall goals for the patient’s treatment. Each week, our tumor board reviews the patient’s progress to determine if any adjustments need to be made to his or her treatment plan. Additionally, our chemotherapy nurses and supportive care providers work to help maintain the patient’s comfort and quality of life throughout the duration of his or her chemo cycles.
To learn more about receiving chemotherapy for stomach cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals to schedule an appointment with our expert oncologists.