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Review Article

Screening for Gastric Cancer: The Usefulness of Endoscopy



Abstract

Gastric cancer screening is common in countries with high prevalence rates of gastric cancer. However, data supporting the effectiveness of gastric cancer screening are lacking. Thus, the aim of this review was to examine the current evidence on gastric cancer screening. Herein, we reviewed radiographic and endoscopic tests as methods of gastric cancer screening. Previous cohort studies and case-control studies have demonstrated reduced gastric cancer mortality in study populations that had undergone gastric cancer screening with radiographic tests. Recently, a case-control study in Japan reported a 30% reduction in gastric cancer mortality when screening was undertaken via endoscopy. Also, endoscopic screening for gastric cancer exhibited higher sensitivity and specificity than radiographic screening. Moreover, most cost-effectiveness analyses on the best strategy for detecting early gastric cancer have generally concluded that endoscopy is more cost-effective than radiographic testing. Although data on the impact of endoscopy screening programs on gastric cancer mortality are limited, recent study results suggest that gastric cancer screening by endoscopy in average-risk populations performs better than radiography screening. Further evaluation of the impact of these screening methods should take into account cost and any associated reduction in gastric cancer mortality.


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