Postgrad Med J 79:252-258 doi:10.1136/pmj.79.931.252
  • Review

Occupation and gastric cancer

  1. A Raj1,
  2. J F Mayberry1,
  3. T Podas2
  1. 1Gastrointestinal Research Unit, Leicester General Hospital
  2. 2Thessalonika, Greece
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Anita Raj, Gastrointestinal Research Unit, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE2 4TF, UK;
  • Received 30 April 2002
  • Accepted 25 November 2002


Gastric cancer is a cause of significant morbidity and mortality. There are several risk factors, with occupation emerging as one of these. There is considerable evidence that occupations in coal and tin mining, metal processing, particularly steel and iron, and rubber manufacturing industries lead to an increased risk of gastric cancer. Other “dusty” occupations—for example, wood processing, or work in high temperature environments have also been implicated but the evidence is not strong. The mechanism of pathogenesis of gastric cancer is unclear and the identification of causative agents can be difficult. Dust is thought to be a contributor to the pathological process, but well known carcinogens such as N-nitroso compounds have been detected in some environments. Further research on responsible agents is necessary and screening for detection of precursor gastric cancer lesions at the workplace merits consideration.