The UK NSC recommendation on Stomach cancer screening in adults

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed March 2016
Next review due in 2018/19
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Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening is not recommended because:

  • as of yet there is no initial test that is both reliable and harmless, and therefore which can be used on everybody
  • there are diagnostic tests that can confirm the presence of cancer, but they are too harmful and invasive to be used on everybody as the first test
  • it is not known how and when to treat suspicious signs of cancer

More about Stomach cancer

The stomach is an organ that links the oesophagus (gullet) and the duodenum (top of the small intestine). It is part of the digestive system, and its main function is to digest food that is eaten so that the nutrients can be easily absorbed into the body. It does this by contracting the muscles in the stomach wall that help to break down solid food. Cancer of the stomach, which is also known as gastric cancer, affects approximately 8,200 people in the UK every year. Stomach cancer tends to affect those over the age of 55, and it is almost twice as common among men than women.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that inhabits various areas of the stomach and duodenum. It causes a chronic low-level inflammation of the stomach lining and is strongly linked to the development of duodenal and gastric ulcers and stomach cancer.

» Read more about stomach cancer on NHS Choices

» Read more about stomach cancer on Cancerbackup


The British Association for Cancer Research
British Association of Surgical Oncology
British Society of Gastroenterology
Cancer Research UK
Faculty of Public Health
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
Oesophageal Patients Association
Rarer Cancers Forum
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Surgeons
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Society and College of Radiographers

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

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