Department of Surgery, Maharajgunj Medical Campus, Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal
Background: Gastric cancer, the fifth most common malignancy in the world, usually affects older individuals but can occur in younger age groups. In this study we compared the clinicopathological profile of young patients of gastric cancer with that of older patients. Materials and Methods: It is a prospective study of gastric cancer patients treated over three year period (January 2012 to December 2014). Data of patients were obtained from the medical record. Clinical and pathological characters of younger patients (age 40 years or less) were compared with older patients (age more than 40 years). Results: There were total of 152 patients treated during the study period. Twenty patients (13.2%) were less than 40 years of age and 132 (86.8%) were older. The male to female ratio in younger patients was 1:1.5 whereas in older patients it was 1:0.6. In the younger age group 14 patients (70%) had poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma in contrast to 45% in the older age group (<0.01). Some 55% of younger and 42% of older patients had stage IV disease at presentation and curative surgery was not possible. Palliative surgery for gastric outlet obstruction or bleeding from the tumor was performed on 25% and 21% respectively. Conclusions: Gastric cancer in young people aged less than 40 years has unique characters like female predominance, unfavorable tumor biology, and advanced stage at presentation. There should be a high index of suspicion of gastric cancer even in young patients.