Hearing that you have a recurrence of stomach cancer is always devastating news.
You have been through so much first time around with surgery and possibly chemotherapy.
You think that you have beaten the disease, only to be told that it is back.
If it recurs after gastrectomy it signals a new phase in your illness as your chances of survival are drastically reduced.
You have now reached stage 4 disease with a 5 year survival rate of only 4%.
So, how do you know you have got a recurrence?
Initially there may be no symptoms to suggest a problem and its quite dependent on where the tumor recurs.
The main sites of are:
If you develop a secondary cancer your oncologist will decide with you as to the best way of dealing with this.
More often than not, you will be offered either chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but this isn't always the case.
Surgery can have a role, but is unusual unless confined to the stomach when a partial gastrectomy may be changed to a total gastrectomy.
It may also be done if you have a good response to chemotherapy or radiotherapy, when the tumor has shrunk.
The choice of management partly depends on where the tumor has recurred.
There are plenty of support organizations that can help you if this occurs.
Organizations which provide support can be found in the useful addresses section of the website.
Its always a desperately upsetting time when told that your tumor has recurred, but it is always important to get the right advice in this situation.