A retrospective study of early gastric cancer (60 patients) was performed to evaluate its diagnosis and treatment. Ninety-five per cent of patients presented with nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms and 53.3% had been treated for presumed benign disease for up to 48 months before diagnosis. Fiberoptic endoscopy detected these lesions more accurately than radiologic examination. The disease-free 5-year survival rate after resection was 76.4%. Survival showed no significant correlation with sex, tumor site, macroscopic appearance, extent of gastric resection, or histopathologic type. Tumors larger than 1.5 cm in diameter, invasion of submucosa, or lymph node metastasis resulted in significantly lower survival rates. Three of eight patients with nodal metastasis survived 5 or more years, including one who had second-echelon deposits. A high index of suspicion may permit more frequent detection. Extended lymphadenectomy (R2) is recommended to achieve the highest possible cure rate.