Treatments for stage 2 and stage 3 stomach cancer

Last medical review:

The following are treatment options for stage 2 and stage 3 stomach cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Surgery is a main treatment for stage 2 or 3 stomach cancer.

A gastrectomy is done to remove all or part of the stomach. The type of gastrectomy done depends on the size of the tumour and where the cancer is within the stomach. Lymph nodes around the stomach are also removed (called a lymph node dissection).

Chemoradiation or chemotherapy

Chemoradiation or chemotherapy is almost always offered with surgery for stage 2 or 3 stomach cancer. You may be given:

  • chemoradiation after surgery (adjuvant chemoradiation)
  • chemotherapy both before and after surgery (perioperative chemotherapy)
  • chemotherapy alone after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy)

If surgery can't be done, chemoradiation or chemotherapy may be used alone.

Fluorouracil (also called 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU) is often used alone or in combination with other drugs for stage 2 or 3 stomach cancer.

Radiation therapy

External radiation therapy is usually given as a part of chemoradiation for stage 2 or 3 stomach cancer. You may be offered external radiation therapy alone if surgery can't be done.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with stomach cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • Michael Sanatani , MD, FRCPC

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

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