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Ask The Expert Archive

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Stomach Cancer Archive Questions

Below are Dr. Hanna’s answers to Stomach Cancer questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Now displaying records 1 to 15 of 16.

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Q : 1

My aunt has been diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Her doctors have suggested that the only option is chemotherapy. Are there newer approaches available?

Given the metastatic nature of her disease, especially if it is extensive, chemotherapy is the recommended option.

Q : 2

My father was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma with signet ring cells. It's in his stomach with tumors on the liver, gallbladder, and abdominal wall. What is our best course of treatment?

The best course of treatment is systemic chemotherapy.

Q : 3

My uncle was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer. He had two rounds of chemotherapy, but CT scans showed that tumors did not reduce in size. He is now trying a different type of chemo. If this doesn't work, would HIPEC be an option?

Given that he did not respond to chemotherapy, HIPEC would not be advised.

Q : 4

My father is 75 years old and has gastric cancer. His doctors removed the entire stomach and after radio and chemioterapia, he has had regular diarrhea. What can we do to stop the diarrhea?

Diet modification and medications are usually helpful when trying to control frequent diarrhea. He should also be seen by the gastroenterologist.

Q : 5

My friend is a 51-year-old male with stage IV stomach cancer that has metastasized to the rectum. He was told he is end stage and no treatment was offered. He is otherwise healthy and no other mets. Is there any other option?

There aren't really any good surgical options for his disease. Chemotherapy should be considered as the primary treatment option.

Q : 6

I am 53 years old. I had a gastroscopy three years ago and it was all clear. I am now having stomach discomfort again. Should I ask for a further gastroscopy, or would the first one have found cancer three years ago?

There are more benign causes for your stomach discomfort than cancer. Your doctor should determine the nature of the discomfort and act accordingly.

Q : 7

My friend's father is 58 years old and has been diagnosed with gastric carcinoma linitis plastica, stage 4. The CT scan shows that the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and to 3 spots in the liver. He has ascites and had his first therapeutic paracentesis a week ago. Will chemo help with decreasing the rate of ascites? Can he have a procedure to drain the ascitic fluid or will this increase the risk of peritoneal infection? What is the life expectancy for patients after receiving a diagnoses of stage 4 gastric carcinoma?

Chemo is the best and only option. A catheter can be placed in the peritoneal cavity to drain the fluid. The median survival for stage 4 gastric carcinoma is about 6-9 months.

Q : 8

My dad was diagnosed with gastric cancer. He is awaiting the surgeon's opinion on treatment plan (operation or chemo, etc.) What are the cure rates with this disease? Should treatment be started fairly quickly?

Cure rates are dependent on stage of cancer. Yes, treatment should start promptly and there should be no delays performing the surgery.

Q : 9

My husband has recently been diagnosed with Stage III gastric cancer. However, upon a recent PET scan, there are 2 suspicious areas highlighted. One area says "of concern is a focal area of intense metabolice activity poserior to clips in the region of the pancreatic neck" and the other says "there is a hypemetabolic 1.2 x 1.8 cm medial right supraciavlcular lymph node with a maximum standard uptake value of 4.5". The doctor wants his previous surgeon to do a biopsy of this area if he can. He had a tumor removed in his stomach recently, and part of his lower stomach. Does the mere presence of this put him at a Stage IV? What does this mean as far as treatment? Can you help us?

If the node in the supraclavicular area is positive, then it is stage 4. He would still recieve chemotherapy.

Q : 10

My friend was diagnosed with omentum adenocasinoma at the end of January '07. He has been having chemotherapy; doctors say his cancer is inoperable and radiation is not an option. I have been reading about the treatments that you offer, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and was wondering if this would be an option for him and if you can provide this treatment if an operation is not possible.

Yes, it would be an option if the disease is still contained within the pritoneal cavity and his general condition is good. This requires detailed evaluation of his disease including laparoscopy.

Q : 11

I would like to know the meaning of polypoid tumoral tissue on antrum (lesser curve). Does it have a relation with cancer? What is the risk of surgery?

Polypoid tumor is a visual discription of the tumor mass and it could be cancer. Risk of surgery is dependent on type of surgey and the patient's medical condition.

Q : 12

Is there any difference between bile duct cancer and extrahepatic cancer? My dad was diagnosed with bile duct/liver cancer. He is 81, his general health is very poor, and he suffers from prostate and kidney problems. What would you think will be his best treatment?

Bile duct cancer can be intrahepatic or extrahepatic. The best options are palliative care or chemotherapy if he can tolerate it.

Q : 13

My husband was 52 when diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer. His only symptoms seemed to be ulcers/acid reflux. He only lived 6 months. My husband's mother died at age 41 of the disease. Is there a strong link between my husband's cancer and his mother's? I have two sons and wonder if they should be checked regularly?

Hereditary gastric cancer is very rare and often occurs at a much younger age. Additionally, there are no screening tests for gastric cancer. My recommendation for your sons is that if they develop any persistent dyspeptic symptoms, they should follow up with a gastroenterologist for proper evaluation and treatment.

Q : 14

My father had surgery two years ago to remove 75% of his stomach following a cancer diagnosis. He followed up with chemo & radiation and was fine until this year. Three months ago he started vomiting and was unable to hold down food; the vomiting became more frequent so that he wasn't able to drink any liquids. After various CT/MRI scans turned up negative for cancer, surgeons opened him up for laparoscopy and found cancer cells outside the stomach along the abdomen lining. They found no tumours but cancer in the nodes. He is so weak from all the vomiting and still unable to eat, he is receiving TPN and has been recommended for further chemo involving ECF. Is IPHC recommended for metastatic gastric cancer such as my father's and if so, what kind of life expectancy has been shown from the clinical trials?

IPHC is a very extensive procedure and the patient has to be in reasonably good health with adequate nutritional status. While it can be done for gastric cancer, we are very selective in doing the procedure, as the biology of the disease is what will determine the outcome.

Q : 15

My sister has just been diagnosed with a bleeding tumor in her stomach. She is under 40, has Hepatitis C (due to drug use), and other related health issues. What is a bleeding tumor? Because of the Hep C, doesn't that cause her liver to weaken, therefore, making her prone to diseases such as cancer?

Any tumor can bleed, whether benign or malignant. Hepatitis C can cause liver cirrhosis, which makes her more prone to bleeding and also to liver cancer.

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