Stomach cancer common in the Eastern Asian region

1. Stomach cancer is common in the Eastern Asian region

The number of new cases of stomach cancer worldwide was estimated at 1.03 million in 2018. The prevalence of stomach cancer is tending to decrease globally, but it differs greatly by region. In particular, the percentage of people who develop stomach cancer is known to be high in Eastern Asia compared to other regions. A variety of risk factors for stomach cancer, such as smoking and diet (excessive consumption of salt), have been pointed out, but infection with a kind of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is considered important as the main risk factor.

Figure 1 | Prevalence of stomach cancer by region (2018). Source: Bray F, et al. CA Cancer J Clin 2018;68:394-424. c American Cancer Society.

2. The prevalence of stomach cancer increases with age

According to Japanese statistics, the number of cases of stomach cancer is known to increase with age. In particular, since the prevalence increases among people aged 50 or older, early detection in middle-aged and elderly persons is an important challenge.

Figure 2 | Number of cases of stomach cancer by age group (2014, Japan). Source: Cancer Registry and Statistics, Cancer Information Service, National Cancer Center, Japan.

3. Stomach cancer screening is important in the early detection of stomach cancer

Japan and South Korea, among other countries, make proactive efforts to reduce the number of deaths from stomach cancer. In these countries, stomach cancer screening is performed on persons over the age of 40 or 50 in order to detect and treat stomach cancer early on.

This column has been prepared under the supervision of a physician for the purpose of providing general information on cancer.
It is not a substitute for the advice and services that should be provided by a physician or other healthcare professional. If you notice any health conditions, please consult your family doctor or a specialist.

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