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About advanced cancer

Find out about advanced stomach cancer and how it might affect you.

Advanced stomach cancer means that a cancer that began in the stomach has spread to at least one other part of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

Unfortunately advanced cancer can’t usually be cured. But treatment can control it, relieve symptoms, and give you a good quality of life for a while.

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Sometimes cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed. Or the cancer has come back and spread after treatment for the original cancer.

Cancers that have spread to another part of the body are called:

  • secondary cancer
  • metastases
  • metastatic cancer

Where stomach cancer spreads

Stomach cancer can spread to the:

  • liver
  • lungs
  • lymph nodes
  • food pipe (oesophagus)

Locally advanced cancer

Locally advanced cancer is cancer that has spread into the tissues around the stomach. It hasn’t spread to other organs, which is different to an advanced cancer.

How you might feel

Finding out that you can’t be cured is distressing and can be a shock. It’s common to feel uncertain and anxious. It's normal to not be able to think about anything else.

Lots of information and support is available to you, your family and friends. It can help to find out more about your cancer and the treatments you might have. Many people find that knowing more about their situation can make it easier to cope.

    Talk to your doctor or nurse to understand:

    • what your diagnosis means
    • what is likely to happen
    • what treatment is available
    • how treatment can help you

    Everyone is different and there is no right way to feel.

    Many people want to know what the outlook is and how their cancer will develop. This is different for each person. Your cancer specialist has all the information about you and your cancer. They're the best person to discuss this with.

    You can also talk to your specialist nurse.

    For information and support, you can phone the Cancer Research UK nurses on 0808 800 4040, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
    Last reviewed: 
    05 Jul 2016
    • TNM Staging Charts
      Rubin and Hansen
      Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2009

    • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
      Tobias and Hochauser
      Wiley Blackwell, 2014

    • Improving supportive and palliative care for adults with cancer
      National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), 2004

    • Gastric cancer
      Cutsem and others
      The Lancet published online May 5, 2016

    Information and help

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