What are the key statistics about stomach cancer?
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for stomach cancer in the United States for 2013 are:
- About 21,600 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed (13,230 in men and 8,370 in women)
- About 10,990 people will die from this type of cancer (6,740 men and 4,250 women)
Stomach cancer mostly affects older people. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 70. Almost two thirds of people with stomach cancer are 65 or older. The average risk that a person will develop stomach cancer in their lifetime is about 1 in 116. This risk is slightly higher in men than in women, and can also be affected by a number of other factors.
Stomach cancer is much more common in other parts of the world, particularly in less developed countries. It is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world.
Until the late 1930s, stomach cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Now, stomach cancer is well down on this list. The reasons for this decline are not completely known, but may be linked to increased use of refrigeration for food storage. This made fresh fruits and vegetables more available and decreased the use of salted and smoked foods. Some doctors think the decline may also be linked to the frequent use of antibiotics to treat infections. Antibiotics can kill the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), which is thought to be a major cause of stomach cancer.
For statistics on survival for stomach cancer, see the section, “Survival rates for stomach cancer by stage.”
Last Medical Review: 02/15/2013
Last Revised: 02/22/2013