In York between 1941 and 1949, 632 patients underwent Polya partial gastrectomy for peptic ulcer. Of 307 patients who were followed up in the York Gastric Clinic from 1971 to 1980, nine died of gastric cancer, three times the expected number. If gastrectomy was performed for gastric ulcer the risk of later development of carcinoma (7%) was significantly greater than that following operation for duodenal ulcer (1.6%) (p less than 0.001). No cancers were diagnosed in the 54 patients endoscoped. Atrophic gastritis was found in 98% of patients and intestinal metaplasia in 44%. Dysplasia was present in 35% but in no case was it severe. Although we have found that there is an increased risk of cancer developing in the gastric remnant we do not consider routine endoscopic follow up of all postgastrectomy patients to be a practical proposition.
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