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Gastric (Stomach) Cancer and Treatment

Gastric (Stomach) Cancer Treatment

Gastric cancer can be a devastating disease, but there is hope. The Gastrointestinal Cancer Department at Sheba Medical Center works in union with other cancer specialists to provide world class medicine with a personal touch to all of our patients. This means taking an integrative and holistic approach to gastric cancer treatment with teamwork among our radiation oncologists, GI cancer specialists, pathologists, support staff, and surgeons, along with state of the art research.

gastric cancer

Risk Factors

Among the risk factors for stomach cancer is the presence of H. pylori bacteria. This type of bacteria has been determined to be a cause of gastric ulcers, and the inflammation it creates may lead to stomach cancer. Other risk factors include an unhealthy diet heavy in fats and carbohydrates but light on fresh vegetables and lean protein, smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol intake, and sparse exercise. Pernicious anemia, in which stomach cells contribute to a vitamin B12 shortage, is also a risk factor.


The majority of stomach cancers, particularly in patients from Western nations, are adenocarcinomas. Gastric adenocarcinomas are classified into five stages:

| Stage 0:

Also called carcinoma in situ. Abnormal cells have been discovered in the innermost stomach layer but have not migrated to other areas of the body.

| Stage 1-2:

The abnormal cells have spread to other stomach layers and maybe adjacent lymph nodes, but are still not metastatic to other organs.

| Stage 3:

The tumor is now present in multiple layers of the stomach as well as multiple lymph nodes. Metastasis to adjacent organs may have begun.

| Stage 4:

The tumor is metastatic and has spread to other, distant organs via the bloodstream and lymphatic system.


Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer include:

  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Severe heartburn or indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood in the stool

Definitive diagnosis of stomach cancer is made via endoscopy, biopsy, imaging, and blood tests. Endoscopy consists of inserting a camera into the patient’s stomach to look for signs of cancer. Biopsies are taken during the endoscopy and sent to a pathologist for examination. A stomach biopsy can also be performed with a needle and guided with ultrasound or a CT scan.

Imaging used for cancer screening includes precise CT scans and ultrasound. Blood tests are also utilized to detect the presence of anemia as well as the cancer marker CEA.

Gastric Cancer Treatment In Israel

Treatment for stomach cancer usually involves surgical removal of the tumor and nearby lymph nodes. In the event of an especially large tumor or the spread of cancer throughout the stomach, partial removal of the stomach may be necessary. After surgery, the pathology team will determine the type and stage of tumor present, if it has spread to adjacent lymph nodes, and which drugs it may be susceptible to, based on the patient’s genetic profile.

Our team of pathologists, surgeons, gastric oncologists, and radiation oncologists meet each week to discuss new cases and plan the best course of treatment for our patients. With stomach cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be used in addition to surgery, either before or after the surgical procedure. Clinical trials at Sheba Medical Center are ongoing in an effort to provide more efficient treatment for stomach cancer patients. Common conventional chemotherapy drugs used to treat stomach cancer include:

  • Cisplatin
  • Oxaliplatin
  • 5-fluoruracil
  • Paclitaxel
  • Docetaxel
  • Irinotecan

In addition, the biologic drug Herceptin ® (trastuzumab) may be used if there is an overexpression of HER2 receptors in the tumor.

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Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone.

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