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Study Shows Treating H. pylori Decreases Gastric Cancer Mortality

I often wonder whether it is worth it to ask young healthy people to eradicate H. pylori infection if they have no symptoms, or minimal symptoms. H. pylori infection is very common, and most people don't know and don't care if they harbor this infection.

Recent research from China shows that treatment of H. pylori significantly decreases mortality in gastric cancer patients all the while promoting endurance and protection for over 20 years. Until recently, there were doubts about the effects of eradicating H. pylori, and these findings confirm that treating H. pylori infection lowers the risk of gastric cancer in high-risk populations. Several uncertain factors remain for this strategy: the effect of timing of treatment, whether there is a particular time point when it is too late and the effects of treatment will no longer be beneficial. 

The study also demonstrated that the number of new cases of gastric cancer decreased with vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium supplements, but not necessarily with garlic supplements. One caveat of this result is that the study tested a nutritionally limited population and may not yield the same result when testing a nutritionally sufficient population (like here in the United States). Nevertheless, these findings shed light on potential courses of action to prevent gastric cancer. In addition, it suggests which further research should be done to explore benefits vs. side effects of these interventions.

For more information and to read the full article, visit MedPage Today:

Rebekah Kim Surgery and Special Projects Coordinator

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