Stomach Cancer Survivorship

About Stomach Cancer

At Penn Medicine, patients with stomach cancer receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of gastrointestinal cancer.

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is cancer that forms in tissues that line the stomach. The stomach is a hollow organ in the upper abdomen, just under the ribs. Its primary function is to receive food from the esophagus, digest it and turn it to liquid/semi-liquid and send it through the lower digestive tract.

The stomach has five layers:

  • Inner layer: lining of the stomach
  • Submucosa: support tissue for inner layer
  • Muscle layer: muscles of the stomach
  • Subserosa: support tissue for the outer layer
  • Outer layer: outer lining, also called serosa

The most common type of stomach cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is cancer that starts in cells that have gland-like properties within the tissues that line the inside of the stomach.

Other types of stomach cancer include:

  • Lymphoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Stromal Tumor (GIST)

These types of stomach cancer are relatively uncommon.

Stomach cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States, and its rate of incidence has declined over in the past decades. Experts believe this decline may be due, in part, to the reduced intake of salted, cured and smoked foods.

Penn Medicine’s multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN.

Read more About Stomach Cancer

Diagnosing Stomach Cancer

An accurate cancer diagnosis from trusted cancer specialists is the first and crucial step in getting personalized treatment options to treat stomach cancer.

Patients who choose Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, benefit from a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists including gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons who work together to provide a diagnosis and joined with radiation oncologist and medical oncologists to have an appropriate treatment plan custom designed for each patient with stomach cancer.

Cancer specialists at Penn Medicine are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing stomach cancer and are actively researching better and more precise ways to detect stomach cancer.

Because an accurate diagnosis is a critical step in planning cancer treatment, it’s important patients know that when they come to Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, they are taking an important step in getting the best cancer treatment.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right person. Penn Medicine’s contact center has experienced cancer nurses available and ready to guide patients in finding the cancer specialist right for them.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN.

Read more Diagnosing Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer Treatments

Following the diagnosis and staging of stomach cancer, cancer specialists at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center develop a personalized treatment plan. Penn’s treatment options for stomach cancer include:

  • Surgery
    • Partial gastrectomy
    • Total gastrectomy
  • Radiation therapy
    • 3-D conformal radiation therapy
    • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    • Proton therapy
    • Volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
  • Chemotherapy and biologic therapies
    • Biologic (targeted) therapy
    • Chemoradiotherapy
    • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Other treatments
    • Integrative medicine and wellness
    • Palliative care
    • Penn Home Care and Hospice

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Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN.

Read more Stomach Cancer Treatments

Stomach Cancer Survivorship

Survivorship programs at Penn Medicine are a distinct phase of stomach cancer care and are designed to help patients' transition from their cancer treatment routine to a post-cancer care lifestyle. There are more than 12 million cancer survivors living and thriving today as a result of advances in cancer treatment. However, cancer treatments can result in physical, emotional and financial complications long after the therapy is complete.


Personalized Survivorship Care

At the end of treatment, stomach cancer patients should schedule a survivorship visit with their oncologist and nurse practitioner. At this time, patients are provided with a summary of the treatment received as well as a plan for follow-up care.

Long-term stomach cancer survivors should speak to their oncologist and nurse practitioner about scheduling a one-time survivorship-focused consultation with a nurse practitioner or physician. Annual or more frequent follow-up appointments are also available.

Penn cancer providers work one-on-one with patients to develop survivorship care plans. Since every cancer is unique, the plans are tailored to the patients. 

The survivorship care plan includes information on:

  • Potential long-term or late side effects of cancer treatment, the symptoms and treatment.
  • Recommendations for cancer screening for disease recurrence or a new cancer.
  • Psychosocial effects, including relationships and sexuality.
  • Planning follow-up visits.

A survivorship care plan encourages patients to review the information with their health care team and become active participants in their follow-up care.

Penn also offers stomach cancer patients a number of support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

Oncology Navigation Specialists

Every step of cancer treatment; from a cancer diagnosis, to surgery and treatment to forming a survivorship plan; comes with different needs and issues that should be addressed.

Oncology Navigation Specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center are available to make a patient’s experience as seamless as possible. As experts in navigating complex health care situations, patient support specialists serve as a consistent point of contact and a reliable source for advice, support and direction for patients and families. They can help in a variety of ways including; provide emotional support, identify resources, and ensure access to information, support services, educational programs and community resources.

Learn more about patient navigation specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Survivorship Programs at Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine’s Living Well After Cancer™ Program is a nationally recognized program that focuses on issues facing cancer survivors. In 2007, the Abramson Cancer Center was designated a LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence Network.  The Abramson Cancer Center is only one of eight LIVESTRONG centers in the United States, and is the only LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence in the Philadelphia region. The program focuses on survivorship, a distinct phase of care.

Prescription for Living: The Cancer Survivorship Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, provides patients with a summary of important information about specific cancer diagnoses and treatments, as well as follow-up information and steps to take towards recovery, supportive care and education to help patients adjust to their lives as cancer survivors.

Continued Support

Penn offers cancer patients support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

The Abramson Cancer Center and Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital at Pennsylvania Hospital provide materials and host a wide range of activities that provide education and support to address key areas of concern including survivorship for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Focus On: Gastrointestinal Cancers is a day-long conference that addresses issues for patients with stomach cancer, as well as their loved ones.


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Clinical Trials

Stomach Cancer Trials

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