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What is Linitis plastica? What is the treatment provided?

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Posted on Mon, 9 Dec 2013
Question: Hi. My name is XXXXXXX I'd like to understand more about linitis plastica. My mother-in-law was diagnosed 10 days ago. We do not know what stage the cancer is and the doctors in the little hospital there do not seem to think there is any need for staging. They only want to send her home to die. She is on ng suction and TPN because her stomach is completely blocked. She is 74 years old and until only recently was very healthy and active. Doctors are saying surgery, chemo, radiation are all out of the question because she is so weak now but I'm not convinced they are knowledgeable in this. This is a small hospital without a GI Dr. present or and oncologist. We are also told that transfer to a larger facility is not possible. I do not understand why not.
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Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: It is a bad disease actually Detailed Answer: Hi I am sorry to know about your mother-in-law. Linitis plastica is a type of stomach cancer where the disease spreads to involve the entire gastric wall so that it is thickened like leather. Hence the normal functions of eating and digesting gets severely affected. Treatment depends upon the stage. If it jas not spread outside the stomach, then surgery +/-chemo or Radio is given. but if it has spread outside then mostly palliation +/- chemo. However, if the patient is frail and very weak then she cannot tolerate any of these. One way is to give parenteral nutrition for some time to improve the general condition and then do the surgery. but this is worth only if it is localised disease and the general condition is borderline, not too poor. If the doctors feel that she is too frail that any of these is impossible, then most likely that is the case. Hope i have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Indranil Ghosh

Oncologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1631 Questions

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What is Linitis plastica? What is the treatment provided?

Brief Answer: It is a bad disease actually Detailed Answer: Hi I am sorry to know about your mother-in-law. Linitis plastica is a type of stomach cancer where the disease spreads to involve the entire gastric wall so that it is thickened like leather. Hence the normal functions of eating and digesting gets severely affected. Treatment depends upon the stage. If it jas not spread outside the stomach, then surgery +/-chemo or Radio is given. but if it has spread outside then mostly palliation +/- chemo. However, if the patient is frail and very weak then she cannot tolerate any of these. One way is to give parenteral nutrition for some time to improve the general condition and then do the surgery. but this is worth only if it is localised disease and the general condition is borderline, not too poor. If the doctors feel that she is too frail that any of these is impossible, then most likely that is the case. Hope i have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any.