Fifty-two patients with early gastric cancer are described. At presentation, the average age was 60 years and the male:female ratio was 3:2. The patients had presenting symptoms indistinguishable from those due to benign peptic ulcer disease. Endoscopic examination with multiple biopsies was the most accurate means of diagnosis, with an overall 93% detection rate. The tumours were located predominantly along the lesser curve (75%) and in the antrum (64%), with ulcerated or depressed lesions most common and flat lesions least common. Approximately 58% of lesions were of intestinal type, submucosal invasion was seen in 45% and lymph node metastases had occurred in 7% of cases. Lesser curve and antral lesions were more likely to be ulcerated. Ulcerated lesions were on average, the same size as non-ulcerated lesions. Body lesions were larger than antral lesions and lesions which had spread to the submucosa were larger than mucosal lesions. Diffuse-type lesions were more likely to be ulcerated than intestinal-type lesions and dysplasia was more commonly associated with intestinal-type lesions than with diffuse or mixed-type lesions. The crude 5-year survival rate was 80%, but only one death was associated with a recurrence of gastric cancer.