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Stomach Cancer Chemotherapy  

Stomach cancer chemotherapy is a type of treatment used for patients who have developed this disease.  It entails the use of special medications which are designed to identify cancer cells and kill them internally.  This treatment has been an important way to help to eliminate the disease or at least the slow its development and provide sufferers with some relief from symptoms and a better quality of life. 


The special drugs used in this type of chemotherapy can be administered in several ways.  They can be taken orally or administered directly into the bloodstream through an injection or intravenous drip.  The typical course of treatment requires a number of visits over the course of a week to a month. 


An important reason for multiple dosages is due to side effects which typically occur from stomach cancer chemotherapy.  Although the drugs do a good job of attacking cancer cells which exhibit abnormal growth, they can also affect other healthy cells which exhibit rapid growth as well.  These kinds of cells are present in the lining of the stomach which can make it more difficult to administer high dosages designed to eradicate the cancer quickly without affecting the other healthy cells. 


Common side effects which can therefore occur include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, infections, and falling hair (since hair cells grow faster than most normal cells as well). 


To help to minimize these side effects, smaller dosages are given multiple times over a period of time.  This can still be effective in killing cancer cells but it helps the body to recover from the damage to healthy cells as well. 


The number of treatments and dosages given depends a lot on the overall health of a patient.  So many factors come into play in regard to the most effective treatment plan. 


But for this and other reasons, stomach cancer chemotherapy is not typically effective as the only treatment given.  Doctors tend to treat the disease by surgically removing the cancerous tissues in the stomach first.  This is especially true if the cancer is localized and has remained within the stomach area. 


Stomach cancer chemotherapy may be used following the surgery to help to kill as many remaining cancer cells in the area to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.  This kind of chemotherapy may also be used prior to surgery to help shrink larger tumors so that it is easier for surgeons to remove them successfully later on.  In this case the tumor may be too large to operate and the chemotherapy can help to shrink it to a size which allows it to be removed successfully. 


Stomach cancer chemotherapy is also often used for more advanced cases of stomach cancer where surgery would not be as effective because the cancer may have spread to other organs and is no longer localized in the stomach area.  In this case the treatment is designed to slow the progression of the cancer and relieve symptoms.  But it is not usually designed to have the ability to cure the disease completely. 


However there are advances in the kinds of drugs used as well as better delivery systems which show promise in improving the effectiveness of this type of treatment.