Radiotherapy for stomach cancer

During a multidisciplinary team meeting, your specialists will determine which treatment option is right for you. This may be surgery, sometimes preceded by radiotherapy. 

Curative treatment

Treatment that aims to cure stomach cancer is called a curative treatment. Stomach cancer is often treated through a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. In some cases, external beam radiotherapy is deemed necessary, and in other cases it is delivered as part of a clinical trial (CRITICS II-trial). Radiotherapy for stomach cancer often consists of 25 sessions in combination with chemotherapy. The chemotherapy can boost the effects of the radiation on the tumor. You will have to come to the hospital for IV chemotherapy once a week. Thanks to the latest developments in radiation technology, we can aim the beams at your tumor with increased precision, preventing harm from the surrounding healthy tissue. Delivery of radiation usually takes a few minutes. 

Palliative treatment

Radiation treatment that aims to alleviate symptoms is called a palliative treatment. You will receive fewer radiation sessions (1 to 4). Your radiation oncologist will tell you more about the treatment plan during your first consultation. 

Radioterapie Animatie Stil

What to expect

Radiation after surgery

Some people may need radioherapy after surgery to decrease the risk of recurrence: the return of the tumor.

Consultation with your radiation oncologist

You will meet with your radiation oncologist to duscuss your treatment, and how to prepare for it.


Your radiation oncologist will decide how many radiation sessions you will need, together with your surgeon, radiologist, gastroenterologist, and medical oncologist.


If you are receiving chemotherapy together with yourradiptherapy, you will have to come to our outpatient clinic every week for an IV. Some people can get their chemotherapy orally, as a pill.

What to expect?

Every stomach cancer patient will get a personalized treatment plan that best fits their personal situation.This can be radiation after surgery, in combination with chemotherapy. You will take chemotherapy pills before your radiation treatment and receive chemotherapy every week through IV. To protect your kidneys, we will give you plenty of fluids before and after your IV. You will have to stay at the hospial for two nights. 


We will provide information about the treatment during your preparatory consultation. There will be plenty of room to ask questions. 

We will make a CT as a preparation for the treatment. You will be taking the same position you would during radiation treatment: on your back, with your arms raised above your head. You will receive small tattooed dots on these lines in order to deliver the radiation to the same spots during your next session. You may need additional diagnostic tests, such as blood tests or a kidney function test. 

Due to the side effects you may experience, you will see a dietician as part of your preparations.

Radiation treatment planning

Your radiation oncologist will calculate the amount of radiation sessions you will need together with your surgeon, radiologist, and gastroenterologist.

The treatment will be delivered during work days and will take 15 minutes each session. You will only receive the radiation for 1 to 2 minutes, however.

Radiotherapy lab technicians will deliver the radiation, but you will see your radiation oncologist or physician assistant every week during your treatment.

Side effects

The side effects you will experience depend on your personal situation, overall shape and health, the area that is receiving the treatment, and the chemotherapy.

For 25 radiation sessions, you will start noticing the side effects after two or three weeks. The exact nature of these effect depend on the healthy tissue in the area and the organs. Most people will experience nausea and loss of appetite.

Some people experience a noticeably lower white blood count. Your radiation oncologist can tell you more about the side effects you can expect. You may experience fatigue, or problems with your mucus membranes (especially in the mouth), and the hands or feet.


Follow-up care

You will meet with your radiation oncologist or physician assistant efery week during your treatment. He or she can answer your questions, prescribe drugs, and explain the follow-up screenings after your treatment. 

If you would like extra care during or after your treatment, please ask your radiation oncologist or physician assistant to refer you to our supportive care providers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Our physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, oral hygienists, speech therapists, social workers, and psychologists are experienced in care for cancer patients and would love to offer additional support during and after your treatment. 

Fertility preservation

Treatment for cervical cancer may negatively affect your fertility levels, which is why the Netherlands Cancer Institute, in collaboration with the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC and the LUMC, offers fertility preservation.

Berthe Aleman in gesprek (slokdarmkanker)