Stomach Cancer Living

Living with cancer isn’t easy, and often requires major lifestyle adjustments. Your first concern will be working with your team of doctors to develop a treatment plan. During this stage, it’s a good idea to learn everything you can about the disease, its prognosis and the benefits and risks of different treatment options.

Make your own treatment decisions. Discuss your concerns and preferences with your doctor. Even if you feel tired and discouraged, don’t let anyone else make important decisions for you or force you to rush into anything.

Living with Cancer of the Stomach

Everyone experiences stomach cancer differently. What happens for you will depend on how advanced the cancer is and your choice of treatments. Fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss are common. Chemotherapy or radiation treatment can cause nausea and vomiting, hair loss and other side effects.

After stomach surgery, one of the biggest changes you may have to make is to your diet. If part or all of your stomach is removed, you’ll probably need to eat smaller but more frequent meals. You may not be able to ingest certain foods that are hard to digest, such as fried chicken, or that irritate your stomach, like alcohol. Working with a nutritional counselor can help you make the necessary adjustments.

The Importance of Support and an Active Lifestyle

Some people find support groups helpful when living with cancer; other cancer survivors can understand what you’re going through in a way no one else can. Local support groups are available through hospitals and other organizations. Plus, many online support groups are available. You may also consider seeing a counselor or getting spiritual support from the clergy of your choice.

You may also want to stay active and involved in your life, to the extent you’re capable. Generally, if you feel well enough to do something, do it. Set reasonable goals and know when to step back and take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help relieve the stress and fatigue of living with cancer.

If you decide to end your cancer treatments because they aren’t working, talk to your doctor about palliative care to ease your symptoms and make you more comfortable.

After successful cancer treatment, ease back into your life. You’ll need to see your doctor for regular checkups, which may include a physical exam, blood tests, CT scans, endoscopy or other tests. Maintaining your doctor-recommended schedule of follow-up care can help catch any issues before they become major problems.

Resources

American Cancer Society. (2010). Stomach cancer. Retrieved February 7, 2011, from http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/StomachCancer/DetailedGuide/stomach-cancer-what-is-stomach-cancer

CancerHelpUK. (2010). Coping with stomach cancer. Retrieved February 14, 2011, http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/stomach-cancer/living/coping-with-stomach-cancer

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Stomach cancer – Coping and support. Retrieved February 14, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stomach-cancer/DS00301/DSECTION=coping-and-support

National Cancer Institute. (2009). Stomach (gastric) cancer. Retrieved February 7, 2011, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/stomach