Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, begins in the lining of the inner mucosal layer of the stomach and spreads through the stomach wall, forming a tumor or mass as it grows. This is called an adenocarcinoma. Other less common types of stomach cancer are lymphomas, gastrointestinal stromal tumors and carcinoid tumors. The American Cancer Society estimates that 25,000 cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. Stomach cancer is often diagnosed in its later stages because there are typically no symptoms early in the disease. This makes it more difficult to cure. Learn more about cancer of the stomach.
In the past two decades, as our knowledge of stomach cancer has increased, the prognosis for this disease has also dramatically improved. This is due to improved surgery and post-operative care, as well as new therapies. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, our experienced surgeons specialize in stomach cancer and are the surgical team for the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), a unique center uniting the finest gastrointestinal cancer experts.
Our board certified surgeons use the latest minimally invasive surgery techniques to treat stomach cancer, including endoscopic resection and subtotal or partial gastrectomy and procedures such as gastrojejunostomy and endoluminal and stent placement.
Factors that contribute to an increased risk for cancer of the stomach include:
Stomach cancer is difficult to detect early as it does not cause symptoms right away. Symptoms associated with cancer of the stomach include:
If you are having symptoms of stomach cancer, your surgeon will ask about your health history, your family’s history of cancer and risk factors. Diagnostic tests may include:
With the results of diagnostic tests, your doctor will assign your cancer a stage, depending upon the size and spread of the cancer.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeons use the most advanced technology available, performing leading-edge, minimally-invasive surgeries when appropriate. Types of surgery include:
If the cancer cannot be completely removed by standard surgery, these surgical procedures may be recommended:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have stomach cancer and determine what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with stomach cancer.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you will be cared for in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with stomach cancer. After surgery, you will recover in the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Learn more about stomach cancer in our health library.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
Visit the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation.
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