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Treatment decisions

Find out about how your doctor decides which treatment you need, the types of treatment you might have and treatment by stage.

Deciding which treatment you need

A team of doctors and other professionals discuss the best treatment and care for you. They are called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

The treatment you have depends on:

  • where your cancer is
  • how far it has grown or spread (the stage)
  • the type of cancer
  • how abnormal the cells look under a microscope (the grade)
  • your general health and level of fitness

Your doctor will talk to you about your treatment, its benefits and the possible side effects.

Treatment overview

The main treatments are:

●      surgery

●      radiotherapy

●      chemotherapy

●      chemoradiotherapy

You have one or more of these treatments depending on the stage of your cancer.

Treatment by stage

Stage 0 cancer

You might have surgery to remove the abnormal areas from the lining of your stomach. You have the abnormal areas in the lining of your stomach removed through a tube called an endoscope. This is called an endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR). 

Stage 1 cancer

Surgery is the main treatment. For very early stage 1 cancer, your surgeon might be able to remove just the abnormal areas from the lining of your stomach. They do this using a tube called an endoscope.

Or you might have surgery to remove all or part of the stomach. Surgery to remove all of the stomach is called radical gastrectomy. And surgery to remove part of your stomach is called subtotal gastrectomy. 

You might also have chemotherapy before and after surgery after a gastrectomy. 

Stage 2 and 3 cancers

You have chemotherapy before surgery for about 3 months. You then have surgery to remove all or part of your stomach.

Depending on the results of your surgery, you might need more chemotherapy. This lowers the chance of the cancer coming back.

Stage 4 cancer

Treatment aims to control the cancer and maintain a good quality of life. You might have:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • symptom control, for example treatment to help you swallow food
  • trastuzumab (Herceptin) biological therapy for cancers that have the HER2 protein

Clinical trials to improve treatment

Your doctor may ask if you’d like to take part in a clinical trial.

Doctors and researchers do trials to:

  • improve treatment
  • make existing treatments better
  • develop new treatments
Last reviewed: 
04 Jul 2016
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