Between January 1986 and November 1990, 231 patients underwent resection for primary gastric adenocarcinoma at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in southern Taiwan. Thirty-nine (17%) of these patients had early gastric cancer (limited to the mucosa or submucosa regardless of nodal metastases). Epigastric pain was the most frequent symptom (71.8%). The lesions were located in the lower third of the stomach in 84.6% of the patients and in the middle third in 15.4%. A preoperative diagnosis of gastric cancer was achieved in 94% of patients by endoscopic examination with biopsies. All of the patients underwent distal subtotal gastrectomy without mortality. Macroscopically, 84.6% of cases were included in types IIc, III, and IIc-III. One patient died of multiple liver metastases 3.2 years after operation. The cumulative survival rate at 5 years is 92.9%. We comment on these matters and place early gastric cancer in Taiwan into a more global context.
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