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Radiation

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or sub-atomic particles to kill cancer cells in a specific area of the body.

External beam radiation therapy is the type of radiation therapy most often used to treat stomach cancer. This treatment focuses radiation on the cancer from a machine outside the body. Having this type of radiation therapy is like having an x-ray, except that each treatment lasts longer, and the patient usually receives 5 treatments per week over a period of 4-7 weeks.

Before or after surgery, radiation therapy can be used to kill small remnants of the cancer that cannot be seen and removed during surgery. Radiation therapy — especially when combined with chemotherapy drugs such as 5-FU — may delay or prevent cancer recurrence after surgery and may help patients live longer. Radiation therapy can also be used to ease certain symptoms of advanced stomach cancer such as pain, bleeding, and eating problems.

Side effects from radiation therapy for stomach cancer can include:

• Mild skin irritation at the site through which the radiation was delivered

• Nausea and vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Fatigue

• Low blood cell counts

These side effects usually go away within several weeks after the treatment is finished. When radiation is given with chemotherapy, side effects are often worse. Please be sure to tell your doctor about any side effects you have because there are often ways to relieve them. It is also very important that you get treated at a center that has extensive experience in treating stomach cancer.

As approved by:
Joel E. Tepper, MD
Hector MacLean Distinguished Prof of Cancer Research, Dept of Radiation Oncology
UNC/Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

(February 7, 2014)

Radiation Side Effects - Radiation today is more advanced so there usually aren't many side effects to the skin unless the radiation is done where there are folds in the skin or on very sensitive areas.  If skin iritation occurs, immediately bring it to the attention of your health care professional.  Some products to try on your skin are Aquaphor, Lantiseptic, Silvadene, Anusol HC - suppository or cream, Cool Magic, Udderly Smooth, NDX cream, Domeboro Sitz Bath or Biafine.  Always discuss use of these products with your health care team.

Stomach Cancer Brochure

To learn more about this topic and other stomach cancer topics, simply click below to download our new Debbie's Dream Foundation Stomach Cancer Brochure which was developed in conjunction with Lilly Oncology or contact our office to request that a free copy be mailed to you.  You can also contact our office to request a free Mentor be assigned to you through our Patient Resource Education Program (PREP).  We are here for you!

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NCCN Treatment Guildelines

Click below for the NCCN Treatment Guildelines for Gastric Cancer.

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