This article reviews the data on the epidemiology of gastric cancer, to determine if treatment of an asymptomatic individual can be justified. It reviews retrospective and prospective case-control studies of gastric cancer in Italy and other countries. Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma is associated with Helicobacter pylori infection. The risk of noncardia gastric cancer is higher (4-fold or greater) in those with H. pylori infection. Although no studies have shown prevention following treatment, erradication of asymptomatic H. pylori infection in an individual in the age group 40 or lower may be expected to reduce the risk of gastric cancer.