Treatment Programs

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer

The Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancer is one of the largest and most experienced centers in New England for the treatment of stomach cancer.

Our multidisciplinary team of stomach cancer specialists provides individualized care and compassionate support services tailored to the needs of each patient. Stomach cancer care at Mass General combines clinical expertise with the most advanced medical technologies, research and clinical trials available to offer every patient the most appropriate therapies. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients fully understand their diagnosis and treatment options.

Patients are usually seen within one week of referral.

Innovative Approaches The Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancer offers a collaborative and caring approach to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with confirmed or suspected stomach cancer. Consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report, we provide the latest, most effective treatments including many innovative approaches to clinical care and promising new therapies, including:

  • Expertise in stomach cancer surgery, including proper regional lymph node dissection, minimally invasive laparoscopic approaches, and prophylactic total gastrectomy for those with inherited cancer syndromes
  • Proton beam radiation treatment at the Francis H. Burr Northeast Proton Therapy Center, New England’s only proton radiation facility
  • Innovative endoscopy approaches, including endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and endomucosal resection (EMR), provided by one of New England’s few Advanced Endoscopy services, in collaboration with Mass General’s Digestive Healthcare Center
  • Rapid diagnosis and staging of all biopsied tumors (typically within 24 to 36 hours)
  • Genetic counseling for those with suspected inherited risk provided by our Center for Cancer Risk Assessment

Multidisciplinary Patient CareOur team approach ensures that every patient benefits from an individualized, coordinated and compassionate treatment plan, with care provided by leading experts from many specialties. We consider patients, their family and friends involved in their care to be part of this team. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your stomach cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these therapies.

Your care team may include:

  • Pathologists and diagnostic radiologists who specialize in gastrointestinal (GI) cancers to provide a precise diagnosis and evaluate the extent of the disease
  • Surgeons who specialize in treating GI cancers are leading the way in performing and developing the most advanced surgical approaches for stomach cancer
  • Gastroenterologists specializing in digestive health
  • Endoscopists skilled in performing minimally-invasive interventional procedures, including removing early and superficial stomach tumors
  • Medical Oncologists who plan the most effective chemotherapy and biological treatments
  • Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the optimal therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who care exclusively for patients with cancer
  • Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
  • Palliative care providers to improve quality of life
  • Certified genetic counselors from our Center for Cancer Risk Assessment

Members of your care team meet regularly with you and your referring physician to ensure clear communication and seamless coordination of care.

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Stomach CancerOur pathologists sub-specialize in GI cancers and are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of stomach cancer. They participate in weekly tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient’s unique cancer with the entire care team to help guide treatment planning.

All members of our diagnostic radiology team are nationally recognized for expertise in using the most advanced imaging tools to diagnose and stage stomach cancers and to detect tumor changes. Our imaging technologies include:

  • State-of-the-art two and three-dimensional CT studies
  • Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Intraoperative Ultrasound
  • Lymphotrophic Nanoparticle Enhanced MRI (Molecular Imaging)
  • 3D imaging for pre-surgical planning and for monitoring treatment effects

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for stomach cancer may include a barium x-ray of the stomach.

Medical OncologyFor many patients diagnosed with stomach cancer, administering cancer-fighting chemotherapy may be the most effective treatment. Some new cancer drugs that are currently available or in development are designed to block mutations and pathways that cause tumor cells to proliferate. By targeting tumor gene mutations with these “smart drugs”, our doctors are beginning to understand how to eradicate malignant cells in some patients' tumors without using standard chemotherapy and radiation.

Pre-operative chemotherapy as well as combined chemotherapy and radiation are often recommended to shrink tumors before surgery to help surgeons ensure a complete removal.

Excellence in Surgical Care

We work collaboratively with surgeons in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Gastroesophageal Surgery Program, who specialize in complex surgical techniques to treat patients with gastric and esophageal cancers.

Our stomach cancer surgeons have extensive expertise in performing complex upper gastrointestinal surgery. A high volume of cases and our surgeons’ advanced skills help ensure the best possible outcome for each patient. Our surgeons have extensive expertise in performing prophylactic total gastrectomies in patients with inherited cancer syndromes. In addition, we offer one of the few operating rooms specially designed to facilitate complex procedures, allowing surgeons to work side-by-side with multiple surgical sub-specialists.

Among the types of surgical procedures offered for stomach cancer are esophagogastrectomy, total gastrectomy, and partial gastrectomy, along with surgery to remove the first- and second-tier lymph nodes to which the stomach cancer might drain. The goal of these procedures is to remove the stomach cancer and the regional lymph nodes to ensure adequate staging and tumor control in order to guide further treatment and reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence.

Learn more about surgery for stomach cancer. 

Pioneering Radiation TherapiesOur team of radiation oncologists offers a variety of state-of-the-art radiation treatments to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy may be given alone, or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Our radiation oncologists use the most advanced therapies to treat stomach cancer, many of which are available at few select hospitals.

Depending on the nature of a patient’s cancer, our team may suggest external radiation (external beam therapy), a treatment that delivers high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells.

Learn more about radiation treatment.

Treating Cancer through Clinical Trials

The Cancer Center is a leading provider of clinical trails in New England for stomach cancer, making clinical trial evaluation of new therapies a key treatment option. The goal of the clinical trial is to seek and answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer. Current clinical trials for stomach and other GI cancers include:

  • Genetic evaluation for colon, stomach, esophageal and other GI cancers
  • Antiangiogenesis drugs in combination with radiation for GI cancers For a listing of current clinical trails underway for GI cancers.

Find clinical trials for stomach cancer.
Find Targeted Therapy Trials for stomach cancer. 

Developing Better Therapies through Research

Our research program in stomach cancer is a multifaceted effort designed to better understand cancer biology, discover new therapies and improve treatment. The research program in stomach and all GI cancers is one of New England’s largest, allowing us to bring promising new treatments to patients as quickly as possible. Learn more about our GI cancer research.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Illuminations Program

Illuminations is a rotating art exhibit displayed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program aims to enlighten and encourage patients and their loved ones by enhancing our environment of care.

The PACT Program

The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

No stomach for cancer

This November, a Cancer Center patient and her organization “No Stomach for Cancer” are leading the celebration of the first National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Illuminations Program

Illuminations is a rotating art exhibit displayed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program aims to enlighten and encourage patients and their loved ones by enhancing our environment of care.

The PACT Program

The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

Cancer Center

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-5130

patient

Request an appointment at the Cancer Center

Contact the Cancer Center to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists

Discover the Cancer Center patient experience

Our approach to patient care unites cancer specialists across the hospital to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient, ensuring the best possible outcomes.

patient

Make a gift to support gastrointestinal cancer research

Your gift enables our team at the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers to pursue new treatment options for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.