In order to elucidate the natural history of early gastric cancer, we followed up non-concurrently certain patients who had been diagnosed endoscopically as having "early' gastric cancer and who had histological evidence of cancer by biopsy, but on whom surgical resection had been delayed or had not been conducted. At the Center for Adult Diseases, Osaka, 56 cases were eligible for this study. Out of these, 27 cases progressed to advanced cancer and 16 remained at the early stage during the follow-up period (6-88 months, mean: 29 months). The remaining 13 cases had had neither surgical resection nor examinations. The survivorship function for the duration of "early" gastric cancer was estimated by the life-table method of Kaplan and Meier. The median of the duration was estimated as 37 months. The 5-year survival rate of the 34 cases on whom surgical resection had not been conducted was estimated as 64.5%. These results suggest that early diagnosis and early treatment may lead to a reduction of mortality from stomach cancer.