Radiation therapy may be part of your treatment for stomach cancer, if the cancer has invaded deeply into the stomach wall or has spread to lymph nodes. Radiation treatment may be used:
- In combination with chemotherapy after surgery
- Instead of surgery, and given with chemotherapy
- To ease cancer symptoms, such as pain
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. The radiation overwhelms cancer cells with oxidizing molecules that disrupt important cell functions and damage the cancer cells’ DNA so that the cells’ functions are out of balance and they die. Because normal cells are better able to make antioxidants that neutralize the oxidation and detoxify themselves, they are more resistant to the radiation doses.
Patients with stomach cancer have access to the most advanced radiotherapy treatments, including:
- External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT): This most common method of delivering radiation therapy for patients with stomach cancer. Therapy typically involves 25 treatments, which may be given in various ways, each with their unique advantage.
- 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D CRT): This is a form of EBRT where a few shaped radiation beams are aimed at the cancer target from different directions.
- Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT): A more precise form of EBRT than 3D CRT, where the radiation dose is given and the field shape is changed continuously as the treatment machine moves, or arcs around the patient. This treatment helps to spare more normal tissue.
All radiation therapy centers are not created equal
Roswell Park's Department of Radiation Medicine offers:
- Board-certified full-time multidisciplinary radiation faculty, including dosimetrists and medical physicists
- Radiation oncologists who specialize in gastrointestinal malignancies
- Radiation therapy that is planned and coordinated in concert with your on-site surgical and medical oncologists to provide the highest degree of comprehensive and fully integrated treatment