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Palliative Care for Gastric Cancer

Palliative treatments are used to ease pain, improve quality of life and at times, prolong life when full recovery from gastric cancer is not possible. Johns Hopkins is a leader in palliative care and provides avenues for spiritual and emotional counseling as well as medical treatments as part of its approach.

Among the palliative medical methods that may be used to address gastric cancer:

  • Palliative surgery: For people with inoperable stomach cancer that cannot be removed, surgery can often still be used to help control the cancer or to help prevent or relieve unpleasant or painful gastrointestinal symptoms. These procedures may include bypass if the tumor is large enough to block food from exiting the stomach.  Other procedures include palliative gastrectomy for bleeding tumors.
  • Palliative chemotherapy: Patients diagnosed with extremely advanced or inoperable gastric cancer may be offered chemotherapy as a means to prolong life, limit complications or ease pain. As with other forms of palliative care, the goal is to optimize patient quality of life—it is not a curative treatment, and sometimes the symptoms from the chemo can be worse than the cancer.
  • Palliative radiation: Radiation treatments can also help manage symptoms and reduce pain. Ask your doctor if this is an option for you and your specific condition.
     
  • Pain management: The Gastric Cancer Center works collaboratively with the Johns Hopkins Blaustein Pain Treatment Center to provide patients with some of the world’s most advanced treatment options in a supportive, compassionate environment.
     

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