Stomach cancer treatment in Korea

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer begins when carcinogenic cells form in the epithelial cells of the stomach mucosa (inner) membrane. The process can take years until these cells become tumors.

Stomach cancer is the most common type in Korea: according to statistics for 2017, it was ranked 1st among cancers. Fortunately, Korea has one of the highest survival rates for stomach cancer (75.8%), ahead of the reported in the United States (32.1%).

Symptoms and risk factors for stomach cancer

Among the symptoms of stomach cancer may occur:

  • Feeling pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss without cause
  • Indigestion, heartburn, bloating, etc.

Since the symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, it is often possible to miss the initial stage of cancer. Therefore, in Korea after 40 years it is recommended to undergo gastroscopy every 1-2 years or a full medical checkup.

Proven risk factors for stomach cancer:

  • Chronic atrophic gastritis: it takes about 16-24 years for this gastritis to become a cancer
  • Intestinal metaplasia of the stomach mucosa: the cells of the stomach mucosa are replaced by cells of the intestinal mucosa, this disease is considered prodromal stage
  • Poor diet: eating salty, burnt food increases the risk of cancer
  • Helicobacter pylori: this bacteria causes gastritis, ulcers, increases the risk of stomach cancer 3-6 times; if detected, it is recommended to undergo treatment
  • Genetic predisposition: if there are bowel or stomach cancer cases among direct relatives, it is recommended to undergo regular examination
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity: also contributes to the development of stomach cancer

Hospitals specializing in the treatment of stomach cancer in Korea

Medical Avenue has extensive experience with various hospitals in Korea (1st level hospitals – Samsung Medical Center, Severance Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, Seoul National University Hospital; 2nd level hospitals – Ajou University Hospital, Cha Ilsan, etc.). The experience of our patients is important to us. Thus, our coordinators conduct a thorough assessment of the hospitals, doctors and medical staff. The accumulated experience allows to make recommendations individually: according to the diagnosis and wishes of patients.

NOTE: Some hospitals in Korea use experimental NK (natural killers) cell therapy in the treatment of cancer. This method uses your own NK cells. Cell collection occurs through a usual blood collection, then in the lab doctors multiply millions of times and injected back to the patient intravenously. This method helps to use your own immune system in the fight against cancer. Suitable for both patients with initial stage and terminal stage of cancer. For more information, please contact our experts for advice.

Information about cancer treatment in South Korea
Information about cancer treatment in South Korea

Preliminary plan for stomach cancer screenings in Korea

When contacting hospitals in Korea, a detailed examination is carried out to determine the stage of the spread of stomach cancer and the presence of metastasis.

Survey listCost
– Gastroscopy (under or without sedation) with biopsy
– CT (chest and abdominal organs)
– Blood, urine, ECG
– PET-CT (if necessary)
– Bone scintigraphy (if necessary)
About $2,000 (without PET-CT and scintigraphy)
About $5,000 (with PET-CT and scintigraphy)1
– Histological examination of biopsy and postoperative material300$~600$2

1 If there are comorbidities, the list of surveys and the cost may change. 2 Depending on the levels of the study, the cost may increase.

Preliminary plan for treating stomach cancer in Korea

  • Surgery (in Korea, laparoscopic, robotic-assisted operations are performed using the “da Vinci” surgical system). Cost: $ 14,000 ~ $ 23,000 1
  • Chemotherapy, immunotherapy. Cost: $ 500 ~ $ 5,000 for 1 course2
  • Radiotherapy3

1 The cost may change according to the type of surgery, the volume of surgery and the individual characteristics of the treatment. 2 The protocol of chemotherapy is prescribed by the oncologist based on the results of all examinations. The cost depends on the assigned protocol. When prescribing immunotherapy, the cost may increase. 3 The cost of radiation therapy will depend on the number of courses, drugs and dosage.

Approximate screening and treatment schedule in Korea

  • 1 day: consultation with the professor, appointment of examinations
  • Day 2: Medical tests
  • 8-9 day: secondary consultation, tests results
  • Surgery: scheduled, hospitalization for 7-9 days
  • Outpatient appointment based on the results of the biopsy after discharge and flight home. 1

1 The stay may change depending on the patient’s condition, the type of surgery and the schedule of the ward in which the treatment will take place.

Advice from a medical coordinator in Korea

  1. Bring porridge and diet drinks, as light, mild food is recommended after surgery.
  2. Be sure to follow the diet after surgery and even after discharge it is advisable to start meals with very small portions. Experience has seen that over-nutrition after discharge leads to complications. The consultation of a nutritionist is carried out in the hospital before discharge.
  3. Bring with you all the medicines you take on a permanent basis (for the caregiver and the patient), black tea, porridge, cereals, etc.

Reviews of patients treated for breast cancer in Korea

Отзывы пациентов, прошедших лечение рака желудка в Корее

I met Kate through some friends. This is probably fate. Thanks to fate we discovered I had stomach cancer at an early stage. Luckily, I was treated at Asan Hospital in Korea. I was very satisfied with the medical staff, coordinators.
The most important thing that I like in Korea is the precise definition of the diagnosis, the attitude towards patients. Very attentive attitude. We probably don’t have such a relationship in the CIS.
All coordinators at Medical Avenue helped and were always caring. I really thank them. Their medical tourism system is very well organized!


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