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Younger patients with stomach cancer have 'distinct' disease, study finds

ANI | Updated: Jan 01, 2020 15:01 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 01 (ANI): A study on the early onset of stomach cancer found that majority of younger people under 60 who develop stomach cancer have a 'genetically and clinically distinct' disease.
New Mayo Clinic research on stomach cancer in older adults discovered that early-onset often grows and spreads more quickly, has a worse prognosis, and is more resistant to traditional chemotherapy treatments.
The research was published recently in the Journal Surgery.
This early-onset cancer is increasing, making up more than 30 per cent of stomach cancer diagnoses, while the rates of stomach cancer in older patients have been declining for decades.
"I think this is an alarming trend, as stomach cancer is a devastating disease," says senior author Travis Grotz, M.D., a Mayo Clinic surgical oncologist.
"There is little awareness in the U.S. of the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, and many younger patients may be diagnosed late -- when treatment is less effective," he added.
From the studies, it has been noted that today, the average age of someone diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68, but people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are more at risk than they used to be.
There is no clearcut age to decide for the early-onset and late-onset stomach cancer, but the researchers found the distinctions held true whether they used an age cutoff of 60, 50 or 40 years.
The researchers found that the incidence of late-onset stomach cancer decreased by 1.8 per cent annually during the study period, while the early-onset disease decreased by 1.9 per cent annually from 1973 to 1995 and then increased by 1.5 per cent through 2013.
"Typically, we see stomach cancer being diagnosed in patients in their 70s, but increasingly we are seeing 30- to 50-year-old patients being diagnosed," Dr Grotz says.
In addition to being more deadly, early-onset stomach cancer is also genetically and molecularly distinct, researchers found.
"Hopefully, studies like this will raise awareness and increase physician suspicion of stomach cancer, particularly in younger patients," Dr Grotz says.
"Younger patients who feel full before finishing a meal, or have reflux, abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss and difficulty eating should see their health care provider," he adds.
Furthermore, traditional risk factors for developing stomach cancer among older Americans, such as smoking tobacco, did not appear to correlate with its early onset counterpart. (ANI)