Published online Jan 7, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i1.17
Revised: June 28, 2005
Accepted: July 22, 2005
Published online: January 7, 2006
Gastric cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in the world; almost two-thirds of gastric cancer cases and deaths occur in less developed regions. In China, based on two national mortality surveys conducted in 1970s and 1990s, there is an obvious clustering of geographical distribution of gastric cancer in the country, with the high mortality being mostly located in rural areas, especially in Gansu, Henan, Hebei, Shanxi and Shaanxi Provinces in the middle-western part of China. Despite a slight increase from the 1970s to early 1990s, remarkable declines in gastric cancer mortality were noticed in almost the entire population during the last decade in China. These declines were largely due to the dramatic improvements in the social-economic environment, lifestyle, nutrition, education and health care system after economic reforms started two decades ago. Nevertheless, gastric cancer will remain a significant cancer burden currently and be one of the key issues in cancer prevention and control strategy in China. It was predicted that, in 2005, 0.3 million deaths and 0.4 million new cases from gastric cancer would rank the third most common cancer. The essential package of the prevention and control strategy for gastric cancer in China would focus on controlling Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection, improving educational levels, advocating healthy diet and anti-tobacco campaign, searching for cost-effective early detection, diagnosis and treatment programs including approaches for curable management and palliative care.