Stomach Cancer

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Duke’s stomach cancer specialists use the latest medical and surgical advances to find and treat stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, at the earliest possible stage. We give you personalized care designed to treat your stomach cancer aggressively and thoroughly, while also affording you the best possible quality of life and health.

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Tests for Stomach Cancer

Blood and Stool Tests

These tests look for the presence of substances that may indicate cancer.


A tissue sample is taken, often through an endoscope -- a small tube with a camera -- that is inserted through the nose, mouth, or stomach. This tissue is examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer.

Advanced Imaging

X-rays, endoscopic ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET may be used to diagnose your tumor, determine if it has spread, and evaluate your response to treatments.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Treatments for Stomach Cancer


Surgery is often the main treatment option for stomach cancer. Whenever possible, we use small incisions and a small tube (laparoscope) with a camera on its end to see inside your abdomen while performing surgery. Surgery may allow us to remove the tumor or to accurately determine the stage of your cancer before nonsurgical treatment.


A partial gastrectomy surgically removes part of your stomach. A total gastrectomy removes your entire stomach. Lymph nodes and nearby organs may also be removed if cancer has spread. If your entire stomach is removed, your esophagus may be attached to your small intestine to help you eat and digest normally.

Endoluminal Stent Placement

When a tumor creates a blockage, your doctor may insert an expanding metal scaffolding device, called a stent, through a small lighted endoscope, to clear the blockage.


Kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. Our medical oncologists routinely combine the newest chemotherapy drugs with standard drug regimens to achieve a better response, fewer side effects, and improved quality of life. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to prevent their recurrence. Chemotherapy also may be the best treatment for stomach cancer that has spread to other organs.

Radiation Therapy

Usually given externally through high energy beams, or internally by implanting seeds, wires, or wafers to shrink or kill stomach cancers. Your doctor will recommend the best approach based on the stage and size of your stomach cancer. We may use radiation before surgery to reduce complications and improve outcomes. We may also use it to relieve symptoms when tumors cannot be surgically removed.

Targeted Therapies

Stop tumors from growing by targeting a protein in the cancer called HER2. May be combined with chemotherapy to help extend survival in patients with advanced stomach cancer.

Why Choose Duke

Nationally Ranked Cancer Program
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are recognized for exploring new treatment opportunities through ongoing research and clinical trials. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.

Pre-Surgical Treatments
We use chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery to shrink stomach cancer tumors. Our approach has proven to reduce complications and improve outcomes.

Targeted Therapies
We use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer for your specific type of stomach cancer. Targeted therapies are often combined with chemotherapy. If you have advanced stomach cancer, this approach may extend your life.

A Team of Specialists
Our specialists -- medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists; gastroenterologists; radiologists; pathologists; geneticists; specially trained nurses; nutritionists; and social workers -- meet regularly to discuss your care. We work together to offer you coordinated and advanced surgical, medical, and follow-up care.

Access to Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which can give you access to new anti-cancer
targeted therapies, new approaches to surgery, and new ways to minimize cancer-related symptoms -- before they become widely available.

More Minimally Invasive Options
We perform many stomach surgeries with a laparoscope, which is inserted through small incisions. This less invasive method is used to identify and sometimes remove cancer. As a result, you’ll likely have less pain and scarring, lower risk of infection, a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.

Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of cancer treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  

Comforting Environment
Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients -- if their treatment regimen permits -- can receive chemotherapy outdoors.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.