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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1976 Nov;57(5):1027-35.

Gastric cancer in Colombia. III. Natural history of precursor lesions.


The premalignant process in the gastric mucosa was studied by gastroscopic surveys of Colombian populations, and the prevalence of superficial gastritis, chronic atrophic gastritis, and intestinal metaplasia was calculated for population samples having a very high gastric cancer risk (Nariño), very low risk (Cartagena), and intermediate risk (Cali). The prevalence of individuals with normal mucosa in successive age groups was used to estimate "depletion" curves, which were taken as indicators of the dynamics of the premalignant process in each community. Differences corresponding to the geographic variation in stomach cancer risk were found: In the high-risk areas of Nariño, around 75% of the population developed some type of gastritis by 45 years of age, whereas in the low- and intermediate-risk population of Cartagena and Cali, the proportion of such lesions did not exceed 50% at age 45 or thereafter. The effect of environmental factors in early life seemed to be important in determining the prevalence of lesions in each population.

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