At Rush, our experts use minimally invasive procedures to treat stomach cancer and help you regain a healthy digestive system and quality of life.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, starts in the lining of the stomach. Most people who develop stomach cancer are older than 70. In addition to age, other risk factors for stomach cancer include the following:
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
- Family history of stomach cancer
Signs You Should Get Help for Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer can be hard to detect because in many cases it does not cause symptoms in its early stages. Some symptoms of stomach cancer may include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or lumps in the abdomen
- Blood in your stool or vomit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bloating or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
- Stomach pain
Most of the time, having these symptoms doesn't mean you have stomach cancer. Many other conditions have similar symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms and they don't go away, see your primary care doctor.
If your doctor suspects you have stomach cancer, they will likely refer to you a gastrointestinal cancer specialist, who can confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage and extent of the disease.
Diagnosis for Stomach Cancer
Our experts use a variety of approaches to diagnose stomach cancer, including the following:
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR): Doctors at Rush use endoscopic mucosal resection to remove early-stage cancers or precancerous tissues in people with Barrett's esophagus, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, carcinoid tumors and colon polyps. Doctors may also use EMR to take tissue samples to examine for diagnostic purposes.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: Endoscopic ultrasound is an imaging procedure that doctors use to find and evaluate cancers and other conditions of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder and digestive tract.
- Laparoscopy: During a laparoscopic procedure, a surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen to insert a scope (a small, thin tube fitted with a camera) and other surgical tools. Surgeons use laparoscopy to diagnose and treat many conditions, including stomach cancer.
Treatment for Stomach Cancer at Rush
If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, a gastroenterologist and a multidisciplinary team that could include surgical, medical and radiation oncologists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan.
Your care at Rush may involve one or more of the following:
- Surgery: Your surgeon may remove part or all of your stomach, depending on the location, stage and size of the cancer. If they need to remove the whole organ, they will attach your esophagus directly to your small intestine.
- Chemotherapy: Doctors at Rush offer the latest cancer-fighting drugs.
- Radiation therapy: Doctors at Rush use advanced technologies that target the cancer with high doses of radiation while protecting the surrounding tissue.
- Immunotherapy: Rush offers the most advanced immunotherapies, which help your body fight cancer.
- Targeted therapy: A treatment option that identifies and attacks cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
Rush Excellence in Stomach Cancer Care
- Nationally ranked experts focused on you: Rush University Medical Center is ranked among the best in the nation for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Our GI cancer specialists welcome your questions and will work with to create a personalized treatment plan for you.
- High-risk clinic for early diagnosis and treatment: Stomach cancer, like many gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, is most treatable when detected at an earlier stage. Knowing your personal health history, family history and risk factors for developing GI cancer can help. The high-risk gastrointestinal (GI) cancer clinic at Rush University Medical Center works closely with you if you have underlying pre-cancerous conditions or genetic factors that put you at a higher risk for developing stomach and other GI cancers.
- Minimally invasive options: Whenever possible, our surgeons perform less invasive procedures using small incisions, so you have less pain, shorter recovery time and reduced scarring.
- Enhanced recovery after surgery: Rush University Medical Center has created enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) guidelines to optimize your experience before, during and after surgery — and to empower you to be fully engaged in the recovery process. As a result, you can expect to recover faster, spend less time in the hospital, and experience less pain while at the same time using less narcotic pain medication.