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Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

Our Approach to Stomach Cancer

When you are treated for stomach cancer at MD Anderson's Gastrointestinal Center, you are the focus of some of the world's leading experts. They discuss your case at every juncture, planning together to ensure you receive personalized care that ensures the most-advanced treatments with the least impact on your body.

Your personal team of stomach cancer experts may include oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists, as well as specially trained nutritionists, nurses and others. They provide complete yet specialized treatment that is designed to provide optimum results and recovery. Stomach cancer can have a marked impact on your life, and our experts guide you every step of the way to help you cope and adjust.

World-class Surgeons

Surgery for stomach cancer often is challenging, and your highest chances for a successful outcome are with a surgeon who has a high degree of experience and skill in these highly specialized procedures. Because MD Anderson is one of the nation's most active cancer centers, our surgeons use the latest techniques to perform a large number of delicate stomach cancer surgeries each year, with outcomes higher than many other cancer centers.

With groundbreaking research, MD Anderson's physicians have pioneered many improvements in the treatment of stomach cancer. We have led some of the largest international studies on chemotherapy for stomach cancer, and we continue to explore new, more-advanced treatments.

And at MD Anderson you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Most-advanced stomach cancer treatment options, including minimally invasive surgery, targeted therapies, gene therapy and laser therapy
  • Highly skilled and experienced surgeons
  • Advanced procedures that preserve as much stomach as possible
  • Latest diagnostic equipment and techniques, including endoscopic ultrasound
  • Clinical trials of new treatments for stomach cancer

Stomach Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Stomach cancer is treated in our:

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"By nature, I’m a positive person. I always expected to get well and return to my normal schedule."

Stomach Cancer Survivor Sara Strom

Stomach Cancer Facts

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 21,000 new cases of

stomach cancer were diagnosed in this country in 2009. Most cases are in people over age 65.


Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, has become much less common in the United States and Europe over the past 60 years. While the rates of stomach cancer in general are declining, cancers in the area of the stomach near where it joins the esophagus are increasing.

While stomach cancer is becoming less common in this country, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in much of the rest of the world, especially Japan, Eastern Europe, South America and parts of the Middle East. This may be due to differences in diet, the rate of infection with Helicobacter pylori and the environment.

Stomach Cancer Anatomy

Many times, people refer to the abdomen, the area between the hips and chest, as the stomach. But in medical terms, the word stomach refers only to the organ.
The stomach, a J-shaped organ, is in the upper abdomen. After you chew and swallow food, it moves through a hollow tube called the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach mixes the food with gastric juices and begins digestion of the food.

The lining of the stomach has three main layers:

  • Mucosal (inner)
  • Muscularis (middle)
  • Serosal (outer)

Generally, stomach cancer starts when cells in the mucosal layer change. Sometimes these changes develop into cancer, but most times they do not. Stomach cancer usually grows slowly and may not show symptoms for many years.

Stomach Cancer Types

Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, which develop in the cells of the mucosa. However, stomach cancer can develop anywhere in the organ and spread to other parts of the body by growing beyond the stomach wall, entering the bloodstream or reaching the lymphatic system.

The other types of cancer found in the stomach are considered rare. They include:

  • Lymphoma, which affects a body’s immune system
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, often called GIST or gastric sarcomas
  • Carcinoid tumors, which affect the hormone-producing cells of the stomach

If you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center