Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government

Coping with Stomach Cancer

Photo of a woman in head covering sitting and meeting with her doctor.

It's important to talk with your health care provider about side effects you are experiencing and any concerns you have.

Credit: iStock

Stomach cancer and its treatments may cause physical and emotional side effects. When you first learn that you have stomach cancer, you may wonder how you’re going to cope with the upcoming changes in your life. One step you can take is to be informed of the changes that may occur and what resources are available to help you. Speaking up about any problems you have can give you a greater sense of control. Your health care team can talk with you about ways to reduce these side effects so you feel better.   

For resources on the common physical side effects of treatment for stomach cancer, see Stomach Cancer Treatment. Learn more about side effects of cancer treatment and ways to manage them. For help with emotional side effects, see Emotions and Cancer.

Changes in eating and nutrition

Stomach cancer and its treatments may affect your ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food. If part or all of your stomach has been removed, you might need to eat smaller amounts of food more often or make changes to what you eat. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend that you stay upright for some time after eating. They can also help you adjust your diet to make sure you get the nutrition you need.  

To get tips on eating during cancer treatment, see Eating Hints: Before, during, and after Cancer Treatment.  

Learn more about how cancer affects nutrition in Nutrition in Cancer Care.   

Changes in body image

Stomach cancer and its treatment can change how you look and feel about yourself. Know that you aren't alone in how you feel.  Coping with changes to your body and the way you see yourself can be hard. But, over time, many people learn to adjust and move forward.

Learn more about how body changes may affect your self-image and sex life after treatment and ways to cope and communicate your feelings in How Cancer Affects Your Self-Image and Sexuality.

Stress in dealing with follow-up care

Many people who have been treated for stomach cancer need to visit their doctor regularly to get follow-up exams or tests. Planning and scheduling these appointments can be stressful and time-consuming. Waiting for test results can cause anxiety and an ongoing fear of recurrence. The added costs of things such as copays, medicines, and parking and transportation fees only add to the stress. For tips on how to deal with the fear of cancer coming back, see the section Coping with Fear of Recurrence on our A New Normal page.

Cost of cancer treatment

Cancer is one of the most costly diseases to treat in the United States. Even if you have health insurance, you may face major financial challenges and need help dealing with the costs of stomach cancer treatment. The problems a person has related to the cost of treatment is known as financial toxicity. For tips and ways to cope, see Managing Cancer Costs and Medical Information. To learn about financial toxicity and find out if you are at risk, see Financial Toxicity (Financial Distress) and Cancer Treatment.

  • Updated:

If you would like to reproduce some or all of this content, see Reuse of NCI Information for guidance about copyright and permissions. In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product's title; e.g., “Coping with Stomach Cancer was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”