Overview

Patients with Stage 0 cancer have what is referred to as carcinoma in situ, which is cancer that involves only the superficial layer of cells lining the stomach.

A variety of factors ultimately influence a patient’s decision to receive treatment of cancer. The purpose of receiving cancer treatment may be to improve symptoms through local control of the cancer, increase a patient’s chance of cure, or prolong a patient’s survival. The potential benefits of receiving cancer treatment must be carefully balanced with the potential risks of receiving cancer treatment.

The following is a general overview of the treatment of stage 0 gastric cancer. Circumstances unique to your situation and prognostic factors of your cancer may ultimately influence how these general treatment principles are applied. The information on this Web site is intended to help educate you about your treatment options and to facilitate a mutual or shared decision-making process with your treating cancer physician.

Most new treatments are developed in clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment strategies. The development of more effective cancer treatments requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. Participation in a clinical trial may offer access to better treatments and advance the existing knowledge about treatment of this cancer. Clinical trials are available for most stages of cancer. Patients who are interested in participating in a clinical trial should discuss the risks and benefits of clinical trials with their physician. To ensure that you are receiving the optimal treatment of your cancer, it is important to stay informed and follow the cancer news in order to learn about new treatments and the results of clinical trials.

Standard treatment of gastric cancer is surgery consisting of a subtotal or total gastrectomy and lymph node removal. Experience with treating stage 0 gastric cancer in Japan indicates that more than 90% of patients that have their cancer and lymph nodes surgically removed will survive longer than 5 years. In one small study of patients from the United States treated with surgery, the survival rate for patients with early gastric cancer was 97%.

Patients who cannot undergo the usual surgical resection of cancer can have small superficial gastric cancers removed through an endoscope passed through the esophagus. However, this approach precludes lymph node sampling or removal. To learn more go to Surgery and Gastric Cancer.

Strategies to Improve Treatment

Photodynamic Ablation: An alternative approach in patients who cannot undergo surgery is endoscopic photodynamic ablation. During photodynamic ablation, a photosensitizer is injected into a vein and the cancer is then treated with a red light laser through an endoscope, which kills the cells absorbing the photosensitiser. One clinical study designed to evaluate photodynamic ablation involved 22 patients. The results indicated that 73% had a complete response. An average of 2 treatment sessions was required and no severe side effects were experienced. Photodynamic treatment has also been used to treat recurrences after endoscopic surgery.

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