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Early gastric cancer: the case for long term surveillance.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Thirty five patients with early gastric cancer have been treated at the Bristol Royal Infirmary since 1965. The number of cases diagnosed has doubled in the last 10 years. Epigastric pain (74%), loss of weight (63%), and gastrointestinal bleeding (43%) were the most common presenting symptoms, with a median length of history of 12 months (range five days to 72 months). Life table survival curves showed a crude five year survival of 71% (age adjusted 92%) and a crude 10 year survival of 63% (age adjusted 85%). Sixteen patients have been followed up clinically, endoscopically, and by scintigraphy with technetium-99m p-butyl iminodiacetic acid to assess the risk of recurrent disease. Of seven patients with pronounced bile reflux, two had moderate dysplasia of the gastric remnant, and one patient was found to have developed a metachronous tumour nine years after surgery. Partial resection seems to be the best choice of treatment for early gastric cancer, giving good functional results. Consideration should, however, be given to Roux en Y diversion, and long term surveillance of the gastric remnant is recommended.

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