Has the character of gastric cancer changed? A descriptive study of a 10-year period
Over the 10-year period January 1976-December 1985, 446 patients with histologically verified adenocarcinoma of the stomach were treated at Tygerberg Hospital. Coloured patients made up 63.4% of the study population and a significant increase in the annual proportion of this group was observed. Coloured men comprised 47.6% of the total group. The mean age of white and coloured patients differed significantly (68.9 v. 56.5; P<0.001). The symptom complex was essentially similar in the two racial groups and in general the character of the symptoms had no bearing on the prevalence of resection. Although antral tumours were most common in whites and in coloureds, there was a significant increase in tumours located in the fundus in whites. The resection rate remained unchanged over the 10-year period. Only 4 cases of early gastric cancer were detected during this period without any signs of an increased yield of early lesions over time. This audit revealed no beneficial changes over time, which is in stark contrast with reports from Japan regarding the proportion of curable lesions.