The Helicobacter pylori infection and Stomach Cancer Connection

How common are these two conditions?

What is Helicobacter pylori Infection

  • Helicobacter pylori is a bacterial infection that infects your stomach
  • It is transmitted by saliva, and close household contact
  • pylori infection may be present in more than half the people in the world, but most people don’t realize they have it because they never get sick from it
  • pylori can damage the protective lining of the stomach and small intestine, which can allow stomach acid to cause stomach ulcer and bleeding
  • About 10% of people with H. pylori will develop an ulcer
  • Sometimes people can develop inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) or duodenum (duodenitis)
  • Common complaints include pain or discomfort (usually in the upper abdomen), bloating, feeling full after eating a small amount of food, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and dark or tar-colored stools.

How is Helicobacter pylori Infection Diagnosed?


  • Upon detection, helicobacter pylori infection is treated with a course of antibiotics and confirmation of eradication is mandatory for all patients after treatment .
  • Usual treatment regimen contains a course of one stomach acid suppressant and two different antibiotics for 10-14 days
  • Antibiotics resistance profile is important and determines the success rate of the treatment
  • Currently latest treatment regiment offers cure rate about 95-97%

Risk Factors of Progression to Stomach Cancer

Signs of Stomach Cancer

Generally, a gastroscopy takes about 10-15 minutes. If there are polyps to be removed or abnormalities detected, it may take longer. Any polyps seen will be removed immediately and sent to the laboratories. However, a therapeutic gastroscopy may take longer as it may involve injection of medications, application of endoscopic clips, electrocautery to stop bleeding.

What if I am diagnosed with stomach cancer?

  • Early stomach cancer can occur WITHOUT any symptoms
  • An ache or burning pain in your stomach (abdomen)
  • Stomach pain that may be worse when your stomach is empty
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent burping
  • Bloating
  • Unintentional weight loss

Gastroscopy with Narrow Band Imaging (NBI)

Gastroscopy images of magnifying narrow-band imaging (NBI) endoscopic findings of early gastric cancer. Using magnified view, stomach cancer can be detected early before symptoms occurs
Ref: World J Clin Cases. Jul 26, 2020; 8(14): 2902-2916

Risk Factors of Stomach Cancer

Several factors can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer, including:
Patients with a family history of stomach cancer or who smoke should consider undergoing gastric cancer surveillance. Gastric cancer surveillance involves regular endoscopic examinations to detect early-stage cancer or precancerous lesions 6.
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