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Gastric Cancer Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be used in multiple ways to help treat gastric cancer and is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy both before and after surgery. As part of the multidisciplinary team at the Johns Hopkins Gastric Cancer Center, radiation oncologists collaborate with surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and other specialists to devise a treatment plan uniquely suited for each individual.

Why Radiation Therapy Is Used to Treat Gastric Cancer

Radiation therapy can help treat gastric cancer and can also help alleviate some of its symptoms.

  • Targeted radiation interventions can shrink tumors and eradicate cancer cells in adjacent lymph nodes, reducing the likelihood that the cancer will spread.
  • Radiation therapy (often in conjunction with chemotherapy) can be used to shrink a tumor so that partial or full excision becomes possible.
  • Postoperative radiation therapy can be used to kill microscopic remnants of the cancer that are too small to be identified or removed in follow-up surgeries.
  • As with chemotherapy and surgery, radiation can also be used for palliative care by easing stomach pain, reducing or stopping internal bleeding and helping to regain appetite.

Radiation Therapies Used to Treat Gastric Cancer

Radiation therapy targets specific tumors while leaving the surrounding tissue and other organs unharmed. The most commonly used therapy is intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

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