Research Discovers a Distinct Disease in Younger Cancer Patients

New research has discovered that many people suffering from stomach cancer under age 60 have a clinically and genetically distinct disease. As compared to adult cancer patients, this new and early outset form often develops and spreads quickly and has a worse prognosis. The study finds that it is more resistant to traditional chemotherapies. The study results are published in the journal “Surgery”.

Click here to read the complete study findings. 

For decades, the rates of stomach cancer have been declining in older patients. There is an increase in the early onset of gastric cancer, which is now making up more than 30 percent of diagnoses of stomach cancer.

An oncologist and a senior author of this study, Travis Grotz, says that there is an alarming trend in stomach cancer as it is a devastating disease. There is very little awareness about the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer in the U.S. Many younger patients are diagnosed later when the treatment becomes least effective.

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For reviewing statistics of stomach cancer from 1973 to 2015, 72,225 cases were studied by the researchers by using several cancer databases. People in the 30s, 40s, and 50s are now at higher risk than they used to be in the past. Today, the average age of a patient is 68 who diagnosed with stomach cancer.

The researchers found that the distinctions were true whether they used a cutoff age of 40s, 50sor 60s. There is any clear cutoff age for the early and late-onset of stomach cancer.

During the study period, the incidence rate of late-onset decreased by 1.8% annually. While the incidence of early-onset decreased by 1.9% every year from 1973 to 2015 and there is an increase of 1.5% through 2013. The proportion of early-onset gets doubled from 18% of all the cases in 1995 to more than 30% of all stomach cancer cases currently.

There isn’t any universal screening for gastric cancer. The younger patients showed late-stage disease than the older patients. Early-onset cancer is more deadly, also molecularly and genetically distinct as reported by the researchers. Traditional risk factors aren’t correlated with the early-onset of gastric cancer.

Such studies will spread awareness and increase the suspicion of the physician about gastric cancer, especially in younger patients. Younger patients having abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, eating difficulty and those who feel full before finishing their meal or having reflux must see their health care professional as emphasized by Dr. Grotz.

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According to the American Cancer Society, Stomach cancer is among the 16th most common types of cancer. According to a report by the National Cancer Institute, gastric cancer has a five-year survival with a rate of 31.5% and 27,510 new cases are expected in 2019. The World Health Organization reported that cancer was the second top leading death cause globally in 2018 and gastric cancer was ranked the third most common cancer death in 2018.

The researcher’s team hopes to better identify the risk factors for the early onset of gastric cancer with the help of the Rochester Epidemiology Project and by using other large databases.




Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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