We studied 252 newly diagnosed gastric cancer patients seen at our institution between 1977 and 1991 and compared the findings with 609 age- and gender-matched controls. There was no difference in the mean age and the M:F ratio. Most of our patients were rural dwellers from a low socio-economic group. The proximal portion of the stomach was most often involved. No statistically significant differences were found with regard to the use of coffee, alcohol, starchy food, and fresh fruits. The relative risk for gastric cancer was significantly higher statistically in individuals who consumed only small amounts of vegetables and bread. Although an increased relative risk was noted between gastric cancer and the amount of milk and meat consumed, this appears to have been fortuitous: an increased consumption of milk may have been due to patients attempts to alleviate symptoms, and a low meat intake most likely was due to the low income level of the majority of our patients.