Stomach cancer rates to fall

In collaboration with the Press Association

Researchers in the Netherlands have predicted that cases of stomach cancer will fall by 25 per cent in western countries over the next ten years.

The research, published in Gut, looked at the number of people diagnosed with conditions that frequently precede stomach cancer - displasia, intestinal metaplasia and atrophic gastritis - over a 14-year period.

Over the course of the of the study, the researchers found that new cases of intestinal metaplasia fell by 2.4 to 2.9 per cent each year, and dysplasia and atrophic gastritis fell by eight per cent each year.

These results allowed the scientists to calculate the rate of decline for stomach cancer in the upcoming years.

The authors of the study have attributed this decreasing rate to the fall in the number of cases of gastric inflammation caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.

The Helicobacter pylori bacterium is thought to cause inflammation that makes the stomach more susceptible to cancer. As the rates of infection have fallen, so have the rates of stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world, with around 5,700 cases diagnosed in the UK each year.