Gastric Cancer in Asian American Populations: a Neglected Health Disparity

  • Taylor, Victoria M. (Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) ;
  • Ko, Linda K. (Department of Health Services, University of Washington) ;
  • Hwang, Joo Ha (Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington) ;
  • Sin, Mo-Kyung (College of Nursing, Seattle University) ;
  • Inadomi, John M. (Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington)
  • Published : 2015.01.22


Gastric cancer incidence rates vary dramatically by world region with East Asia having the highest rate. The Asian population of the United States (US) is growing rapidly and over 17 million Americans are of Asian descent. A majority of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Americans are immigrants. Americans of East and Southeast Asian descent experience marked gastric cancer disparities and the incidence rate among Korean men in the US is over five times higher than the incidence rate among non-Hispanic white men. Randomized controlled trials have provided evidence for the effectiveness of helicobacter pylori identification and eradication in preventing gastric cancer. Additionally, Japan and South Korea have both experienced improvements in gastric cancer mortality following the implementation of programs to detect early stage gastric cancers. There are currently no clear US guidelines regarding the primary and secondary prevention of gastric cancer in high-risk immigrant populations. However, it is likely that a proportion of US physicians are already recommending gastric cancer screening for Asian patients and some Asian immigrants to the US may be completing screening for gastric cancer in their native countries. Surveys of US primary care physicians and Asian American communities should be conducted to assess current provider practices and patient uptake with respect to gastric cancer prevention and control. In the absence of clinical guidelines, US health care providers who serve high-risk Asian groups could consider a shared decision-making approach to helicobacter pylori identification and eradication, as well as gastric endoscopy.


Supported by : US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


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