Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Stomach cancer: Nutritional support

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Dr. Leon Yoder: With stomach cancer, oftentimes, nutrition can be a major problem because your stomach is not able to absorb. Your stomach is not able to handle a lot of food without hurting or without causing nausea. So nutrition is going to be a major problem. So how do we treat someone with stomach cancer that can't keep up with their nutritional needs? There are different ways of doing that. We can, oftentimes, ask our nutritionists to see, are there any foods that you can take that are not hard on your stomach, that won't cause you pain, that will not cause any nausea. And certainly, there are different ways that you can change your diet and thereby still keep up your nutrition. If even that becomes a problem, then we think about enteral types of treatments. And that means that we can put a tube feeding in your small intestine that bypasses your stomach. With that type of treatment with enteral nutrition, we can continue to give you your nutrition while you're getting the treatment for your gastric cancer. If that's not available, we can always maintain your nutrition through TPN, which is total parental nutrition, which is nutrition given through a vein. These treatments don't have to continue long, but they do have to continue at least during the time of treatments, until there's a time that you're able to swallow and being able to digest your food the normal route.

In this video, gastroenterologist Dr. Leon Yoder talks about the challenges stomach cancer patients face with nutrition. He says there are alternative nutrition options patients and their doctors can consider, including enteral and parental nutrition.

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