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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2011 March;57(1):53-68

language: English

Multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of gastric cancer

Quiros R. M., Desai D. C.

St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network, Bethlehem, USA


Gastric cancer is a global phenomenon and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The highest rates of gastric cancer are seen in Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. In Western countries, the incidence of gastric cancer has declined over the last several decades. At the same time, the distribution of gastric tumors has shifted towards more proximal location in Western patients compared to their Asian counterparts. The most common risk factors include dietary factors, smoking, acid hyposecretory conditions, and H. pylori infection. Clinical diagnosis is made by obtaining a good history and physical exam, complemented by endoscopy and imaging studies. Patients often have advanced disease at time of diagnosis. In the absence of metastases, and provided that the patient is medically fit, surgery is the mainstay of treatment. The extent of gastric resection, including the extent of lymph node dissection, varies by region, with more extensive operations being done in Asia, particularly Japan. Because of the propensity of gastric cancer to recur both locally and distantly, additional therapies including chemotherapy and radiation therapy are recommended along with surgery. These can be administered pre-, peri-, or postoperatively based on institutional practices. As with surgical technique, how and when these additional treatments are offered depends largely on regional practice. In the setting of unresectable, or metastatic disease, palliative options including endoscopic and surgical interventions, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are available.

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