Gastric (stomach) ulcers occur frequently and may be cancerous even though they may appear benign during EGD or upper GI endoscopy (upper GI scope). There has been an ongoing debate whether to perform a repeat endoscopy in patients with these ulcers to make sure there is no cancer.
Dr. Hopper and colleagues from United Kingdom examined this issue and published their findings in the journal Gastric Cancer (2006).
These investigators studied 544 patients with apparent benign ulcers of whom 51% underwent a repeat endocopy. Twelve of these ulcers were then found to be cancerous. They compared this group to 296 other patients diagnosed with gastric cancers in this time period.
GU cancer group had earlier stage disease and were to survive long term than patients in the comparison cohort.
Follow up endoscopy of every 50 patients with an apparently benign gastric ulcer will identify 1 patient with cancer. Such an early detection would lead to improved outcome.
Do you have ulcers? Remember gastric ulcers are different from duodenal ulcers since duodenal ulcers rarely are malignant. Most common cause of peptic ulcer disease is the infection with Helicobacter pylori.