Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to stomach cancer.

Q: How can I eat when all or part of my stomach has been removed?

A: As with any new situation, some adjustment will be necessary. If only part of the stomach is removed, fairly normal eating patterns can be resumed soon after recovery. If the entire stomach is removed, however, frequent, small meals, using foods low in sugar and higher in fat and protein will be best tolerated. While it is a transition, many people adjust well to this new way of eating.

Q: Tell me more about support groups.

A: There are several kinds of support groups available for people with stomach cancer. For those who use the computer to go online, there are chat rooms and list serves (groups of people with a common interest who share e-mails). For those who want a more personal approach, support groups meet in person to discuss issues related to stomach cancer, how to cope, and how to handle treatment side effects. For information on finding support groups, see Additional Sources of Information.

Q: How can I learn about clinical trials?

A: The National Cancer Institute has developed a database called PDQ that offers information about cancer treatment and clinical trials. The Cancer Information Service also provides PDQ information to doctors, patients, and the general public. For more information, see Additional Sources of Information.

Q: If stomach cancer is in the stomach, how does it spread to other areas of the body?

A: Depending on the stage of the disease, any cancer can metastasize (spread to other areas). Stomach cancer may for example grow along the stomach wall and invade the esophagus or small intestine (two connecting points of the stomach to other body parts). It can also extend through the stomach wall, spread to nearby lymph nodes, and from there travel to any part of the body.

Q: If stomach cancer spreads to another organ, is it still stomach cancer, or something else?

A: When stomach cancer spreads to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same name and the same kind of abnormal cells as the original tumor. For example, if stomach cancer spreads to the lungs, the cancer cells are still stomach cancer cells, even though they are found in the lung.

Q: Is stomach cancer contagious?

A: Even though experts can’t say exactly what causes stomach cancer, there is universal agreement that stomach cancer is not contagious.

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