Fewer than 25,000 cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S, according to the American Cancer Society.
The most common type of stomach cancer affects the inner lining of the stomach. It’s often diagnosed at a later stage, making it more challenging to treat.
El Camino Health’s cancer program brings together a team of doctors chosen for their superior educational background, specialty training and proven expertise. They understand the toll cancer takes on you physically, mentally and emotionally.
Our doctors often see new patients within 48 hours of diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. Our team of surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists works together to create a personalized treatment plan for you. You can depend on compassionate care and support throughout your treatment and recovery.
Prevention and Early Detection
Currently, there are no effective screening tests for stomach cancer. However, certain factors may put you at higher risk for developing the disease. These include:
- Age — two-thirds of people who have stomach cancer are over age 65.
- Previous H. pylori infection (bacterium in the stomach that causes ulcers).
- Previous stomach inflammation.
- Being male.
- Diet high in salted, smoked or pickled foods.
- Cigarette smoking.
- Family history of stomach cancer.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Stomach cancer isn’t easily diagnosed in its early stages because symptoms such as indigestion or stomach discomfort are common for a number of other stomach conditions.
More serious symptoms — such as blood in your stool, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, jaundice (yellowish skin tone) or trouble swallowing — should be evaluated to determine the cause.
To diagnose stomach cancer, digestive health experts at El Camino Health may use:
- Blood and fecal occult blood (to detect blood in the stool) tests.
- Upper endoscopy to examine the stomach and possibly take a small tissue sample for further study.
- Barium swallow test to examine the structure and function of the digestive tract.
- Endoscopic ultrasound to examine the stomach internally using a lighted, flexible tube.
Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists tailor a treatment plan to your unique situation, using one or more approaches.
Our surgeons use both traditional and minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove stomach tumors.
For stomach cancer, our radiation oncologists use external-beam radiation, including CyberKnife® robotic radiosurgery and RapidArc®. These highly sophisticated treatment methods send radiation beams to the tumor with submillimeter precision, which allows higher doses in fewer treatment sessions than with traditional radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancerous cells. At El Camino Health Cancer Center, we treat both stomach cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy aggressively. We respond quickly to give you anti-nausea and pain medication, as well as intravenous hydration. By managing your symptoms, we can keep your treatment on track for maximum effectiveness.
El Camino Health is advanced among community hospitals in using targeted therapy to create a unique combination of drugs to combat stomach cancer. We study a sample of your tumor in a lab to analyze the proteins and chemicals that make up the tumor. Then, we use current data to decide which drugs will have the maximum effect in eliminating the cancer.
In addition to advanced therapies, El Camino Health offers specialized services, support and assistance to address the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of you and your family as you face cancer, and receive treatment.
The El Camino Health Cancer Center works with other medical centers and the National Cancer Institute to offer opportunities to participate in ongoing clinical trials. Ask your doctor if a clinical trial is right for you.