Stomach Cancer (cont.)
When you're told that you have stomach cancer, it's natural to wonder what
may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of stomach
cancer. Doctors seldom know why one person develops stomach cancer and another
Doctors do know that people with certain risk factors are more likely than
others to develop stomach cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase
the chance of getting a disease.
Studies have found the following risk factors for stomach cancer:
- Helicobacter pylori infection: H. pylori is a bacterium that commonly infects
the inner lining (the mucosa) of the stomach. Infection with H. pylori
can cause stomach inflammation and peptic ulcers. It also increases the risk of
stomach cancer, but only a small number of infected people develop stomach
- Long-term inflammation
of the stomach: People who have conditions associated with long-term stomach
inflammation (such as the blood disease pernicious anemia) are at increased risk
of stomach cancer. Also, people who have had part of their stomach removed may
have long-term stomach inflammation and increased risk of stomach cancer many
years after their surgery.
- Smoking: Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to
develop stomach cancer. Heavy smokers are most at risk.
- Family history: Close
relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) of a person with a history
of stomach cancer are somewhat more likely to develop the disease themselves. If
many close relatives have a history of stomach cancer, the risk is even greater.
- Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or obesity:
- Studies suggest that people
who eat a diet high in foods that are smoked, salted, or pickled have an
increased risk for stomach cancer. On the other hand, people who eat a diet high
in fresh fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of this disease.
- A lack of
physical activity may increase the risk of stomach cancer.
- Also, people who are
obese may have an increased risk of cancer developing in the upper part of the
Most people who have known risk factors do not develop stomach cancer.
For example, many people have an H. pylori infection but never develop cancer.
On the other hand, people who do develop the disease sometimes have no known
Viewers share their comments
Stomach Cancer - Describe Your Experience
Question: Please describe your experience with stomach cancer.
Stomach Cancer - Symptoms
Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with stomach cancer?
Stomach Cancer - Treatment
Question: What kinds of treatment, surgery, radiation, or therapy did you receive for stomach cancer?
Stomach Cancer - Surgery
Question: Please describe your experience with surgery for stomach cancer.
Stomach Cancer - Diet and Nutrition
Question: What kinds of changes have you made to your diet following your stomach cancer diagnosis?