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Being told you have stomach cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Your healthcare team will likely include:
Oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Oncology nurse. This is a nurse who specializes in caring for people with cancer.
Registered dietitian. This is an expert on nutrition, food, and diet who can help you eat right during treatment.
Your healthcare team will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.
Stomach cancer often takes many years to develop. Sometimes, though, stomach cancer can grow and spread very quickly. Healthcare providers have a hard time predicting which stomach cancers will grow slowly and which will grow quickly. The good news is that healthcare providers can spot stomach cancer earlier than ever before. That means there's more hope of beating the cancer.
The biopsy that showed you have cancer gives your healthcare provider other facts. For instance, it can help him or her predict how fast the cancer may grow. This is called the grade. It's likely you'll need other tests to learn how far the cancer has progressed. This is called the stage.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also visit support groups to talk with other people coping with cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local support groups.
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