Gastric Cancer in Brazilian Amazonia: An overview and thoughts on intervention opportunities

Paulo Assumpçao, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Brazil

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Abstract: Gastric cancer is the second cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Although  in many  developed countries the incidence is decreasing, it remains high in many places, including the State of Pará, in Brazilian Amazonia.  The most important risk factors for gastric cancer are infection by Helicobacter pylori and dietary habits, including the use of salty and smoked foods.  The use of refrigeration and improved sanitary conditions were important factors responsible for decreasing rates of gastric cancer in developed countries. In some countries, due to poor social and economic status, exposure continues and gastric cancer incidence remains high.  In Brazilian Amazonia, even with refrigeration, the local population maintains cultural habits of eating salty foods. So, besides the economic support to provide improved sanitary conditions and access to the use of refrigerators, education is very important, and represents a great opportunity for intervention and reducing the rates of gastric cancer.  Genetics factors are also related to incidence of gastric cancer.  The identification of especially high risk groups, by genetic characterization should allow the possibility of surveillance to obtain earlier diagnostics and better treatment results. For patients with advanced stages there are no efficient therapeutic options. The identification of molecular targets for new therapeutic approaches represents another opportunity that could benefit patients around the world.

About the Presenter: 

Paulo Pimentel de Assumpção is a graduate in Medicine from the Universidade Federal do Pará (1987) with specializations in General Surgery at Universidade Gama Filho (1989) and Surgical Oncology at the Hospital de Oncologia (1991), He hold an M.S. Degree in Gastrointestinal Surgery from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (2001), and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Universidade Federal do Pará. Currently he is a Professor  at the Universidade Federal do Pará, a reviewer of three international journals, a member of the Editorial Board of Universidade Federal do Pará, and coordinator of the Oncology Unit at the  Hospital João de Barros Barreto at  the Universidade Federal do Pará. His work focuses on digestive oncology, especially gastric cancer. E-mail:

Presented on: 
April 21, 2011
Symposium 2011
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