OverviewCancers originating in the esophagus, gastroesophageal junctions, and stomach constitute a major health problem worldwide. In the United States, 37,600 new diagnoses of and 25,150 deaths from upper gastrointestinal cancers were estimated in 2009.1 A dramatic shift in the location of upper gastrointestinal tumors has occurred in the United States,2 and changes in histology and location of them were observed in some parts of Europe.3,4 In countries in the Western Hemisphere, the most common sites of gastric cancer are the proximal lesser curvature, cardia, and gastroesophageal junction.2 These changing trends may also begin to occur in South America and Asia.EpidemiologyGastric cancer is rampant in many countries around the world. In Japan, it remains the most common type of cancer among men; in China, more new cases are diagnosed each year than in any other country. The incidence of gastric cancer, however, has been declining globally since World War II and it is one of the least common cancers in North America. By some estimates, it is the fourth most common cancer worldwide.5 In 2009, 21,130 new diagnoses of gastric cancer were estimated in the United States and 10,620 deaths expected.1 In developed countries, the incidence of gastric cancer originating from the cardia follows the distribution of esophageal cancer.6–8 Noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma has marked geographic variation, with countries such as Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and the former Soviet Union showing a high incidence.9 In contrast to the incidence trends in the West, nonproximal...
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