Risk Factors of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer or gastric cancer refers to the growth of malignant cells within the inner lining of the stomach. The rates of stomach cancer have been declining in the US, yet, 26,240 cases are expected to be diagnosed within this year and it is also estimated to be a cause of 10,800 deaths .
Since the 5 year survival rate of gastric cancer is less, estimated at about 31%, it is important that you take care of the risk factors of this disease in order to prevent its occurrence. While you read, you will acknowledge that a few of them are inevitable and cannot be controlled, which makes it even more important for you to control the ones you can.
What are the Causes of Stomach Cancer?
Following are the most common causes-
One of the primary causes of stomach cancer is an infection with H. pylori, which is a common bacterium causing inflammations and ulcerations in the stomach. So, repeated stomach infections are a definite risk factor.
As with most type of cancers, an advancing age is one of the most common risk factors for stomach cancer, with maximum cases being diagnosed within the sixth or seventh decade .
Stomach cancer has a predilection for men with double times the risk in them as compared to women. This can probably be attributed to their poor dietary habits.
Family history, genetics and race
It is likely that you suffer from gastric cancer if you have a first relative or a parent affected with it. Other than this, disorders like hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, Lynch syndrome, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and familial adenomatous polyposis increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer is more commonly diagnosed in blacks, Hispanics and Asian communities than in whites, so, it is important that they take utmost measures to minimise other risk factors.
Individuals who have had a previous stomach surgery, especially for a benign tumor of the stomach, are at an increased risk with the likelihood being 2 to 4 times higher .
Those with a history of pernicious anemia, which is characterised by a reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12 causing anemia, are at a greater risk of stomach cancer.
It has been said that the risk of stomach cancer is higher among those with A blood group .
Obesity and lack of exercise
Obesity is a considerable risk factor for stomach cancer, particularly for men.
When combined with physical inactivity, this risk tends to increase and the risk is higher among obese individuals than those overweight.
Smoking and exposure to other forms of tobacco like those in the chewable form increases the risk of gastric cancer by around 44%.
Alcohol is considered to be a risk factor when combined with smoking, while an independent association has not been determined.
However, alcohol plays a certain role in the progression of the disease. So, it is best to avoid daily indulgence.
Coming to dietary factors, there are a number of food habits that increase your risk of developing stomach cancer, which you can definitely control.
A high salt diet and an increased consumption of processed meats like sausages, bacon, ham and salami, increase your risk of stomach cancer.
Habits such as eating an excess of pickles or cheese may also increase your risk due to a high salt content.
Other than this, any foods that trigger or irritate the gastric lining serve as a risk factor of repeated gastric reflux and cancer. So, stay away from any foods that do not suit your digestive health.
On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables have a protective role, thus, it is recommended to increase their consumption daily.
It has been ascertained that smoke, dust and fumes may also increase your risk of stomach cancer. So, it is important to ensure workplace safety.