What is the global incidence of epidemiology of gastric cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Elwyn C Cabebe, MD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Once the second most common cancer worldwide, stomach cancer has dropped to sixth place, after cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, colon and rectum, and skin (non-melanoma). [5] Stomach cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer. [5] The World Health Organization estimates that in 2018, gastric cancer accounted for 783,000 deaths worldwide. [1]

Tremendous geographic variation exists in the incidence of this disease around the world. Rates of the disease are low in Northern America and Northern Europe, and highest in Asian countries (eg, Mongolia, Japan, the Republic of Korea). The highest death rates are recorded in western Asian countries (Iran, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan). [5]  

Using data from 92 cancer registries in 34 countries representing 10 world regions, Arnold et al predicted that overall gastric cancer incidence rates will continue falling in most countries, including high-incidence countries such as Japan as well as low-incidence ones such as Australia. By 2035, incidence rates in 16 of those 34 countries will fall below the rare disease threshold (defined as 6 per 100,000 person-years). [11]

Nevertheless, the absolute number of new gastric cancer cases is expected to increase in the majority of countries. New cases could double in Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Slovakia, and Thailand, while dropping slightly in a few other countries (eg, Bulgaria, Lithuania). [11]

While decreasing or stable incidence rates were consistently observed in people aged 50 years and above, Arnold et al predicted increases in incidence in those younger than 50 years in 15 of 34 countries, including Belarus, Chile, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom. [11]

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