The Duke Cancer Institute takes an interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of stomach (gastric) cancer.
Our specialists draw upon decades of training and experience treating both routine and complex, unusual diseases. Specialists in the fields of surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, radiology, and pathology work together to plan the most effective course of treatment for each individual.
The goal of the program is to ensure that each patient receives state-of-the-art treatment while maintaining the highest quality of life throughout treatment and recovery.
The Duke Cancer Institute is dedicated to providing patients with an individualized treatment plan to most aggressively fight their cancer while minimizing complications.
After reviewing your history and conducting a thorough physical exam, our caregivers further assess your situation using an endoscopy to pinpoint exactly where the tumor resides and how it is positioned in the body.
During the endoscopy, physicians may take a sample (a biopsy) of the tumor using a needle or a small incision.
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, our team of specialists will work with you to create a care plan to aggressively treat the cancer. Depending on the size, location, and stage of the tumor, treatment may include a combination of medical therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and targeted therapy.
Duke Cancer Institute patients also have access to a wide range of clinical trials testing the very latest therapies. Duke leads dozens of basic and clinical investigations to discover better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat stomach cancer.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Duke medical oncologists routinely integrate the newest chemotherapeutic agents into standard drug regimens to achieve a better response, fewer side effects, improved quality of life, and a greater chance for cure.
Systemic chemotherapy uses drugs that are given via a vein or by mouth, treating the whole body. Regional chemotherapy is injected into an artery to treat only one part of the body.
Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to make tumors easier to remove, or after surgery to prevent them from coming back. It may also be combined with radiation.
Chemotherapy may be the main treatment for stomach cancer that has spread to other organs.
Duke is a national leader in using preoperative chemotherapy and radiation treatments to shrink tumors in patients with gastric cancers before surgery to reduce complications and improve outcomes.
Radiation involves using high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be used after surgery, to shrink tumors before surgery, or to relieve symptoms.
It may be administered externally using a machine, or internally by implanting wires, seeds, or wafers that emit radiation inside the body directly near tumors. The method of administration depends on the location and size of the tumors.
Other novel radiation therapies include transrectal ultrasound, intra-operative radiation targeted directly at the tumor during surgery, and hyperthermic radiation using heat to boost radiation’s effectiveness.
Duke Cancer Institute surgeons perform high volumes of major procedures to treat stomach cancers. Duke has expanded its minimally invasive cancer resections to include pancreatic, gastric, and liver tumors.
Surgery is often the main treatment option for stomach cancer. It may be used to remove the cancer or, in advanced cases in which the cancer cannot be completely removed, to open up blockages to reduce symptoms.
Surgery is commonly combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Surgery may involve removal of all or part of the affected organ and surrounding tissue, and possibly some lymph nodes.
Targeted therapy consists of drugs that can stop tumors from growing by pinpointing the changes in genes that lead to cancer.
Trastuzumab (Herceptin), which targets a protein called HER2, is used to treat esophageal and stomach cancers that over-express HER2, usually in combination with chemotherapy. This treatment may help patients with advanced stomach cancer live longer.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.