Chemotherapy for Stomach Cancer

NYU Langone doctors may recommend chemotherapy drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. These medications may be given by mouth or through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion.

Our specialists decide which chemotherapy drugs to use, the length and number of treatment cycles, whether it should be given before or after surgery—or both—based on the type of stomach cancer a person has and how advanced it is.

Doctors typically administer IV chemotherapy for several hours, a few days a week, every two to three weeks. Then a person rests for a week to let the body recover. This treatment cycle may be repeated several times over a period of three to six months.

Chemotherapy drugs taken by mouth may be used daily for a couple of weeks and are followed by a week of rest. This cycle may also be repeated over several months.

You doctor may give chemotherapy before surgery—which is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy—to shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove. These drugs are usually given through a needle or catheter in a vein.

After surgery to remove part or all of the stomach, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells and to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. This is called chemoradiation, and the approach is typically used for people with more advanced cancers. If stomach cancer has spread, chemoradiation may slow its growth and reduce the risk of cancer returning.

Side effects of chemotherapy may include low blood cell numbers, a loss of appetite, and nausea and vomiting. To help manage them, NYU Langone specialists prescribe medications, adjust the dosage of chemotherapy drugs, or recommend integrative therapies.

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