Stomach Cancer

If you have stomach cancer, the specialists at Indiana University Health Melvin & Bren Simon Cancer Center are experts in coordinating your care. We manage and arrange your tests and appointments with a variety of physicians who treat stomach cancer, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and general and thoracic surgeons.

At IU Health Melvin & Bren Simon Cancer Center, we provide all the services you need in one place. We schedule your care in the most efficient way to avoid lag times between treatments. Our multidisciplinary approach means you receive care from many experienced health professionals, including dietitians, physical therapists, chaplains, social workers and pharmacists.

We are experienced in handling all types of stomach cancer, especially those that are difficult to manage. Stomach cancer is often diagnosed late in its progression because early symptoms are nonspecific. Late-stage stomach cancer may cause you to have trouble eating and be uncomfortable or in pain. We offer treatments to ease your symptoms and deliver palliative care services to improve your quality of life. Your treatment options may include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy or even clinical trials.

As Indiana's only cancer center with National Cancer Institute designation, we partner with the Indiana University School of Medicine to give you access to leading edge treatments and innovative cancer research.

Stomach Cancer Treatment

There are several treatment plans for stomach cancer, depending on the type of cancer, the location of the cancer within the stomach and whether or not the cancer has spread to other organs or your lymphatic system.

  • Chemotherapy. We use chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells and stop them from spreading. Chemotherapy targets localized tumors as well as cancer cells that break off and travel elsewhere in the body. Chemotherapy is often the key to an overall treatment plan. We use neoadjuvent chemotherapy (given before surgery) and adjuvent chemotherapy (administered after tumor removal).
  • Radiation therapy. This treatment uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiation can be administered outside the body or internally by placing a radioactive substance, sealed in a needle or wire, into or near the cancer. Radiation is also used to ease stomach cancer symptoms.
  • Surgery. We use laparoscopy and other types of minimally invasive surgery to treat stomach cancer. This improves outcomes by reducing the risk of infection and speeding up recovery times. A general surgeon often performs the operation. If the cancer involves the esophagus, a thoracic (chest) surgeon will be involved in your care. Surgeries for stomach cancer include:
    • Total gastrectomy removes the entire stomach.
    • Distal gastrectomy removes of the lower part of the stomach.
    • Cancer staging. During surgery, we also remove the fatty omentum and adjacent lymph nodes to determine the stage of cancer and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Stomach Cancer Research

Our National Cancer Institute designation and our partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine puts us at the forefront of researching the latest treatments and surgeries for stomach cancer.

IU Health Simon Cancer Center physicians are experienced in the use of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments for appropriately selected patients with advanced cancer who might be turned down for curative treatments elsewhere. This may include participation in clinical trials for stomach cancer and services to make it easier to manage your condition.

We also are investigating the use of minimally invasive surgery to speed recovery time and reduce the downtime between surgery and post-operative chemotherapy and radiation.