Background:

Gastric adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality and leading infection-associated cancer. Gastric adenocarcinoma has striking geographic variability, with high incidence in East Asia and mountainous Latin America. Reliable cancer data and population-based cancer registries are lacking for the majority of low- and middle-income countries, including the Central American Four region (CA-4, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala).

Methods:

Mortality data for Nicaragua were obtained from the highly rated Ministry of Health death registry. All the patients were diagnosed with gastric cancer between 1997 and 2012 (ICD-10 codes, C16.0–C16.9) and death due to any cause were included in the study. Data on variables such as sex, age (stratified by 5-year age groups), municipality, urban/rural, altitude, and year of death were analyzed.

Results:

A total of 3,886 stomach cancer deaths were reported in Nicaragua between 1997 and 2012, of which 2,214 (56.9%) were male. The age-standardized mortality rates were 13.1 and 8.7 per 100,000 habitants for males and females, respectively, and without significant change during the study period (annual percentage change = −0.7, P = 0.2). An average of 17.9 years were lost per death, accounting for 67,964 years of life lost (YLL).

Conclusions:

The burden of gastric cancer mortality is high in Nicaragua with a significantly elevated age-standardized mortality rate, YYL, and average YLL.

Impact:

The projected increase in mortality portends the double cancer burden in northern Central America, with persistent infection-associated cancers and growing transition cancers (e.g., breast and colon cancers), which has implications for cancer control in Mesoamerica and U.S. Latino populations.

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