Chemotherapy treatment for stomach cancer – All you need to know

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic drugs to demolish cancer cells. The drugs flow inside the entire body in the bloodstream. 

You may have chemotherapy before or post-surgery for stomach cancer. A few chemotherapy drugs for stomach cancer are epirubicin, cisplatin, oxaliplatin, capecitabine, docetaxel, and fluorouracil. 

This article will help you to understand more about chemotherapy for stomach cancer. 

What is chemotherapy for stomach cancer?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to demolish cancer cells. This treatment restricts cancer cells from dividing, growing, and creating more cells.

It can be used for treating various cancers. Doctors might refer to this treatment as traditional chemotherapy, cytotoxic chemotherapy, or standard chemotherapy. 

Types of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for stomach cancer has more than a hundred different drugs. Nonetheless, all these drugs help damage the cancer cells, they aim at various cells at different times throughout the cell cycle. The correct combination of drugs might enhance how well chemotherapy works.

Following are a few of the major types of chemotherapy drugs used:


  • Mitotic inhibitors
  • Topoisomerase inhibitors 
  • Antitumor antibiotics
  • Alkylating agents
  • Antimetabolites 
  • Plant alkaloids


When to have chemotherapy?

After and before surgery

You can have chemotherapy after and before surgery, except if you have early-stage stomach cancer. This is known as perioperative chemotherapy. It focuses on: 

  • Reducing the cancer size is simpler for the surgeon to remove it.
  • Reduce the chances of cancer coming back again.  



If you didn’t have chemotherapy before your surgery, then you can have: 

  • Chemotherapy merges with radiotherapy as an integral part of a clinical trial. 
  • Chemotherapy on its own after the surgery. 


Advanced stomach cancer

You can opt for chemotherapy as your primary treatment if you are dealing with advanced stomach cancer. 

Perioperative chemotherapy 

When you undergo chemotherapy before and after surgery, it is known as perioperative chemotherapy. It diminishes the residual tumour to enhance the effect of surgery. It also helps in reducing the chances of cancer coming back again. You can have chemotherapy 2 or 3 months before the operation and 2 or 3 months after it. 

Adjuvant chemotherapy 

When you have chemotherapy after the surgery, it is known as adjuvant chemotherapy. It might be given to lower the chances of cancer coming back again. 

Palliative chemotherapy 

It can be used as a primary treatment if cancer:

  • Cannot be separated with the help of surgery.
  • Has spread to various parts of the body. 


How is it given?

Generally, you can have this treatment in a chemotherapy day unit. That means you can leave for home on the same day. If you have chemotherapy as an inpatient, you need a temporary stay in the hospital. 

Chemotherapy drugs are given in your vein intravenously, and sometimes it is also treated with the help of tablets. 


Into your bloodstream 

You have chemotherapy through a short narrow tube, also known as a cannula, through your vein every time you have this treatment. 

You may also have this treatment via a central line: a long line, portacath, or a PICC line. These all are long tubes that help give the drugs into a large vein in your chest. This tube holds its place for the complete treatment. 


Dr. Amit Gandhi is the most trusted expert for cancer patients in Mumbai. He has effectively achieved more than five thousand surgeries in over 15 years, which also includes chemotherapy for stomach cancer.

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