The annual number of deaths from gastric cancer is approximately 50,000, and there has been no change over the last 50 years in Japan. All efforts have been directed toward improving the detection of early gastric cancer by barium X-ray and endoscopy, since early cancer has a good prognosis, resulting in Japan having the best diagnostic capability for early gastric cancer worldwide.
H. pylori eradication therapy for chronic gastritis achieved the world’s first coverage by the Japanese national health insurance scheme in 2013, making a dramatic decrease of gastric cancer-related deaths more realistic. Combining H. pylori eradication therapy with endoscopic surveillance can prevent the development of gastric cancer. Even if gastric cancer develops, most patients are likely to be diagnosed while it is at an early stage, possibly resulting in a large decrease of gastric cancer deaths.
Approximately 1.6 million prescriptions for H. pylori eradication therapy were written annually. Gastric cancer deaths fell each year: 48,427 in 2013, 47,903 in 2014, 46,659 in 2015, and 45,509 in 2016, showing a significant decrease after expansion of insurance coverage for H. pylori eradication therapy (P < 0.0001). Prescriptions for H. pylori eradication therapy increased markedly after approval of the gastritis indication by the national health insurance scheme and were associated with a significant decrease in gastric cancer deaths.
Gastric cancer prevention Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)H. pylori-associated gastritis Elimination of gastric cancer
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