Supportive Care for Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer and its treatment can lead to other health problems. You can have supportive care before, during, and after cancer treatment.

Supportive care is treatment to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve the side effects of therapy, and to help you cope with the feelings that a diagnosis of cancer can bring. You may receive supportive care to prevent or control these problems and to improve your comfort and quality of life during treatment.

You can get information about supportive care on NCI’s Web site at and from NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER and at LiveHelp.

Cancer That Blocks the Digestive Tract
People with advanced stomach cancer may develop a tumor that blocks the passage of food through the digestive tract. Your health care team may suggest one or more of the following options:

  • Stent: The doctor uses an endoscope to place a stent (a tube made of metal mesh or plastic) in your intestine. Food and liquid can pass through the center of the tube.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may help shrink the tumor that is blocking the intestine.
  • Laser therapy: A laser is a concentrated beam of intense light that kills tissue with heat. The doctor uses an endoscope to place the laser in your digestive tract. The laser destroys the cancer cells blocking the digestive tract.

Cancer and its treatments may cause pain. Your health care team or a pain control specialist can suggest ways to relieve or reduce pain. Radiation therapy and pain medicine may help. More information about pain control can be found in the NCI booklet Pain Control.