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News Article

Gastric Cancer: A Prominent Threat for Mexican Population

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 11/29/2021 - 08:42

Mexico’s high prevalence of helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium directly related to gastritis and gastric cancer, is concerning doctors and health authorities.

Aside causing cancer, H. pylori can cause infections in the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine) and is the most common cause of peptic ulcer disease. H. pylori can also inflame and irritate the stomach lining, commonly known as gastritis. Untreated, long-term H. pylori infection can lead to stomach cancer.

Over half of the world's population is infected with H. pylori. This infection is more common in developing countries and less common in industrialized economies, according to Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), suggesting that hundreds of millions may have gastritis. In Mexico, epidemiological studies report that 50-70 percent of the population is infected and the bacterium is responsible for 90 percent of gastritis cancer cases. Most of those who have the infection are asymptomatic, explains María Eugenia Icaza Chávez, Gastroenterologist. Thus, education and awareness to identify it is also recommended to avoid developing cancer.

Chronic gastritis is an underestimated disease despite its consequences. Gastric cancer is the third leading cause of mortality and the fifth leading cause of cancer worldwide. Mexico is an intermediate risk country for the development of gastric adenocarcinoma, which is the third cause of cancer deaths in Mexico in individuals over 20 years old.

Prevalence of this type of cancer varies throughout the country, found the Mexico’s Magazine of Gastroenterology. For instance, Chiapas registered a high mortality rate from gastric cancer between 2000-2012. In Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas gastric cancer ranks among the top 10 most common malignant tumors.

A common treatment for H. pylori is antibiotics, proton pump inhibitor and bismuth subsalicylate. Moreover, maintaining a healthy microbiota helps prevent the development of this type of infections, allergies, behavioral and metabolic problems, such as dyslipidemia, diabetes and obesity, says Aude Boclé, General Manager, Biocodex.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst