This study compares the incidence rates of histologically confirmed gastric carcinoma in Oxfordshire in two five year periods (1960-64, 1984-88). Data were available for 215 patients in the first period, and 200 in the second. The overall incidence fell from 18/100,000 to 15/100,000 but when analysed for site, the incidence of antral tumours fell from 10 to 4.5/100,000. In contrast, there was an increase from 2.8 to 5.2/100,000 of tumours of the cardia. These changes were more pronounced in men. There was a marked association between smoking and tumours of the cardia (relative risk 4.5). Helicobacter pylori was associated with 37.5% of tumours in the 1960s series compared with 25% in the later series. The changing patterns of incidence of gastric carcinoma may, in part, be related to changes in smoking habits and perhaps a change in incidence of H pylori infection.
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