Helicobacter Pylori and Gastric Cancer

October 29th, 2014 @   -  No Comments
More than 700,000 people will die of gastric cancer this year.  Yet it doesn’t receive nearly enough attention. Considering that gastric cancer, is the third most common cause of cancer death globally with the numbers of cases and deaths expected to increase in coming years gastric cancer receives little attention from research funding agencies or public health organizations.
Gastric cancer is is almost unique among cancer bc almost 80% of all gastric cancers are caused by chronic inflammation as a result of infection with Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori).  Infection with H. Pylori is relatively easily treated oral antibiotics and antacids.  Clinical studies in China, where the risk of gastric cancer is high, demonstrated that treatment of H. Pylori infection can reduce cancer gastric risk.  This begs the obvious question of why aren’t we screening and treating patients with chronic H. Pylori infections before they develop gastric cancers?
Unfortunately, the story is not quite that simple.  The Asian studies may not applicable to the global population where gastric cancer is far less common.  In addition, large scale H. Pylori treatment could result in anti-biotic resistant bacteria.  It might also affect the overall natural intestinal bacteria resulting in unknown consequences.
There are multiple ongoing clinical trial involving H. Pylori screening and treatment and populations.  Within the next ten years, when these studies mature, we should have a better understanding of the role of H. Pylori.

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