Stomach cancer statistics

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world, with 952,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012.

  • Stomach cancers are divided into cardia (the top part of the stomach, near the oesophagus) and non-cardia cancers, depending on where they first appear.
  • Stomach cancer is more common in older adults and is about twice as common in men than women.
  • The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is an important cause of stomach cancer, particularly non-cardia cancer. Epstein-Barr virus, which is carcinogenic to humans, has also been linked to stomach cancer in some studies.
  • Tobacco use is a cause of stomach cancer.

The Continuous Update Project Panel made the following judgements:

  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks and foods preserved by salting are probably causes of stomach cancer
  • Consumption of processed meat is probably a cause of non-cardia stomach cancer
  • Greater body fatness is probably a cause of cardia stomach cancer

Preventability estimates using the new findings from the Continuous Update Project show that about 15% of cases of stomach cancer in the US could be prevented by being a healthy weight, having a healthy diet and not drinking alcohol.

The countries with the top 20 highest incidence of stomach cancer in 2012 are given in the tables below.

Both sexes

  • The Republic of Korea had the highest rate of stomach cancer, followed by Mongolia and Japan.
  • About 71 per cent of stomach cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of stomach cancer was in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; and the lowest incidence in Africa and Northern America.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Korea, Republic of 41.8
2 Mongolia 32.5
3 Japan 29.9
4 Guatemala 23.7
5 China 22.7
6 Tajikistan 21.7
7 Kazakhstan 21.6
8 Kyrgyzstan 21.4
9 Albania 20.1
10 Belarus 18.8
11 Turkmenistan 18.2
12 Costa Rica 17.3
13 Bhutan 17.2
14 Honduras 17.0
15 Ecuador 16.9
16 FYR Macedonia 16.5
17 El Salvador 16.4
18 Viet Nam 16.3
19 Russian Federation 16.0
20 Peru 15.8

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Men

  • The Republic of Korea had the highest rate of stomach cancer in 2012, followed by Mongolia and Japan.
  • About 72 per cent of stomach cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of stomach cancer was in Asia and Europe; and the lowest incidence in Africa and Northern America.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Korea, Republic of 62.3
2 Mongolia 47.4
3 Japan 45.7
4 Kyrgyzstan 35.7
5 Kazakhstan 35.2
6 China 32.8
7 Tajikistan 30.1
8 Belarus 29.1
9 Albania 25.3
10 Russian Federation 24.5
11 Guatemala 24.0
12 Turkmenistan 23.9
13 Armenia 23.7
13 Viet Nam 23.7
15 FYR Macedonia 23.5
16 Chile 23.3
17 Latvia 23.0
17 Bhutan 23.0
19 Lithuania 22.7
20 Ukraine 22.4

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Women

  • The Republic of Korea had the highest rate of stomach cancer in 2012, followed by Guatemala and Mongolia.
  • About 69 per cent of stomach cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of stomach cancer was in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; and the lowest incidence in Northern America and Africa.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Korea, Republic of 24.7
2 Guatemala 23.4
3 Mongolia 20.2
4 Japan 16.5
5 Honduras 15.3
6 Albania 15.1
7 Peru 15.0
7 Tajikistan 15.0
9 El Salvador 14.1
10 Costa Rica 13.7
11 Turkmenistan 13.6
12 Ecuador 13.4
13 China 13.1
14 Kazakhstan 12.8
15 Belarus 12.2
16 Turkey 10.9
17 Russian Federation 10.8
17 Bhutan 10.8
19 FYR Macedonia 10.6
20 Estonia 10.3
20 Kyrgyzstan 10.3

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.