ReThink Health


Science continues in Ukraine: study on gastric cancer trends in the last 10 years highlights inequalities when comparing to the European rates

It has been more than a year since the full-scale military aggression of Russia against Ukraine has begun. In the beginning, when a lot of people were shocked, life in Ukraine concentrated around military recruitment centers, volunteer networks, and hospitals. Now, when it becomes more evident that Ukraine stays strong, it is supported by the world, and every day proves its right for life, various spheres of life in Ukraine revived.

Dnipro region is the area that is located near the frontline and Dnipro itself has become an eastern fortress of Ukraine. Despite no active military actions taking place in the region, its southern parts suffer from constant shelling from the occupied part of Ukraine – from the other side of the river Dnipro. The additional danger always in the minds of locals is Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is currently occupied by Russian troops. Only mentioned problems would be enough to paralyze an average Ukrainian in spring 2022. But not in spring 2023.

Science keeps developing in Ukraine, despite being usually associated with a quiet university environment. And problems that were bothering scientists in peaceful times are being considered again. One of the latest studies, conducted by a team composed of scientists from Dnipro State Medical University (including myself) and the Cancer Registry of Dnipropetrovsk region investigates the epidemiology of gastric cancer in the region.

Significant efforts have been made to decrease the prevalence of risk factors of gastric cancer. But even despite a gradual decrease in incidence and prevalence, gastric cancer remains one of the top killers in oncology worldwide. Especially for the male population. The study I coordinated (Semenov et. al) represents an extended version of the routine cancer surveillance performed by the National Cancer Registry of Ukraine. The study presents the data of isolated gastric cancer cases collected in the Dnipro region from 2009 to 2019.

Investigation of isolated gastric cancer is important and in this study, we attempted to eliminate the influence of coexisting cancers that could impact the prognosis of patients. Standardized incidence and prevalence allow comparing the results of the study to European and World data. On top of that, we provide the anonymized research data, making possible additional insights from other researchers.

The results of the study show that the epidemiological situation with gastric cancer (incidence, prevalence, mortality rate, and survival of patients) in Ukraine is comparable to the situation in the World. However, the incidence and mortality of gastric cancer in Ukraine are around 1.5 times higher than in the European Region. Generally, gastric cancer in Ukraine follows the same pattern as in other countries – males and older persons suffer more often and have a greater risk of death. Sub-analysis by the area of residence has revealed some differences between the parts of the Dnipro region, but the underlying basis for such differences is to be investigated.

The study demonstrates trends in gastric cancer epidemiology in the Dnipro region over 11 years of observation. The results of the study indicate the need for the development and implementation of a nationwide program targeted at the systematic prevention of gastric cancer in Ukraine. The experience from the neighboring countries might be of use during the development and implementation of the program.

It seems very optimistic that in this anxious time, such very fine things as science keep existing. Thanks to the bravery of Ukrainian soldiers supported by the Allies, the whole of Europe, together with a large part of Ukraine can lead a relatively peaceful life. But let’s not forget what the price of our quiet lives is…

The link to the full-text version of the study:
Viktor V. Semenov, Lilia V. Kriachkova, Natalia Shestakova, Viktor Khanov, Halyna Donchenko, Olga Balashova, Yulia I. Viklienko. Gastric cancer epidemiology from 2009 to 2019 in Dnipro Region, Ukraine. Cancer Epidemiology, 2023, Volume 82, 102315,

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