Chemotherapy uses drugs circulated through the blood stream to destroy cancer cells. It may be used as the primary treatment in cases where stomach cancer has spread to distant sites and can alleviate symptoms and help prolong life. It can also be used after surgery (adjuvant treatment) to destroy any cancerous cells left behind and prevent recurrence of the cancer. In some stages of stomach cancer, chemotherapy can be used before surgery (to shrink the size of the tumor to make the surgery less complicated. Chemotherapy can also be administered after the surgery.
Radiation uses high-powered x-rays to destroy cancerous tumors and cells. In cases of stomach cancer, External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) may be recommended after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells left behind. In advanced cases of the disease, radiation may be used to successfully manage the patient’s quality of life by helping to alleviate bleeding, pain and trouble eating.