Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a cancer that starts in the stomach. The most common cause is infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which accounts for more than 60% of cases. Certain types of H. pylori have greater risks than others. Gastric cancers due to smoking mostly occur in the upper part of the stomach near the esophagus. Some studies show increased risk with alcohol consumption as well. About 10% of cases run in families and between 1% and 3% of cases are due to genetic syndromes inherited from a person's parents such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer.
Diagnosis is usually by biopsy done during endoscopy. Surgery remains the only curative therapy for stomach cancer. This is then followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread to other parts of the body. The pathologic examination of the resected specimen shows incomplete resection or deep invasion by tumor, the patient would need a formal stomach resection.
During 1987 through 1992, we diagnosed 123 patients as having stomach cancer. The crude and the age- and sex-adjusted incidence rates using the 1990 population statistics for Japan were 25 (95% confidence interval, 21 to 30) per 100,000/y and 23 (95% confidence interval, 19 to 28) per 100,000/y for all ages, respectively; these occurrences are the highest among those reported to date.