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Stomach Cancer Cases in Young White Americans Increasing, New Study Reveals

A new study revealed that the risk percentage for lower stomach cancer among young white males and females in the U.S. is rising despite the corresponding decrease in most groups.

“We confirmed what had been previously understood about gastric cancer, that in most groups it has been declining over the last thirty years,” according to Dr. Charles Rabkin of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Generally, stomach cancer affects persons aged 65 and above. In the U.S., most stomach cancer cases involve Asian-Americans, Hispanics and blacks—the rate of which has been gradually decreasing over the years. However, a new trend revealed an increasing rate of stomach cancer cases among white Americans aged 25 to 39.

“We found one exception to that [decreasing] trend, which was that young, white Americans, ages 25 to 39, actually had increasing rates of gastric cancer,” Dr. Rabkin says. “That was an unexpected finding and a disturbing finding.”

Using data gathered from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Rabkin and his team identified about 39,000 gastric cancer cases between 1977 and 2006.

During that period, stomach cancer cases decreased by 1.9 percent among whites, 4.2 percent among blacks and 6.1 percent for other groups. But for white Americans aged 25 to 39, Dr. Rabkin reports, “The increase is estimated to be about 2.7 percent per year. That may sound like a small number, but over a number of years that percentage can grow just like compound interest on a loan.”

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