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What to Know about Radiation Treatment for Stomach Cancer

Radiation treatment is also called radiotherapy. It is one way to treat stomach cancer.

The goal of radiation is to kill cancer cells. It works by directing strong X-rays at the tumor. A radiation oncologist sets your treatment plan. The plan tells what kind of radiation you will have and how long the treatment will last. Your radiation oncologist or nurse can tell you what to expect during treatment and how you may feel during and after the treatment.

There are three main uses for radiation therapy:

  • You may have radiation after surgery to make sure that all the cancer cells were destroyed.

  • If your cancer can't be removed by surgery but has not yet spread to distant areas, you may get radiation (along with chemotherapy) to try to shrink the cancer. If it shrinks enough, surgery may be possible.

  • If you have an advanced cancer, your doctor may use radiation to ease symptoms, such as pain, bleeding, or trouble eating.

Your radiation oncologist may do imaging tests to decide on your treatment. Imaging tests take pictures inside your body. They help show where you need treatment. These may include X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans. You may have the same tests after radiation treatment to see if it is working.

How You Get Radiation for Stomach Cancer

Your radiation oncologist chooses your treatment plan. A radiation therapist gives you the radiation. External radiation is the type used to treat stomach cancer. The radiation comes from a machine, but you won't feel it. It's directed to the tumor from outside your body. You usually get treatments once a day for five days in a row. You'll have this treatment for several weeks. Each session takes only a few minutes. You won't need to stay overnight in the hospital.


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