Studies have found a number of factors that may increase the risk of developing this type of cancer. Some of the risk factors for stomach cancer include:
- Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach
- Chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
- Older age
- Being male
- A diet high in salted, smoked, or poorly preserved foods
- Pernicious anemia
- Smoking cigarettes
- Intestinal metaplasia
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or gastric polyps
- A mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
Risk factors are not causes of the disease. However, they can increase a person's chances of developing it. People who are at risk of developing stomach cancer should talk to their doctor about methods of prevention and plan a schedule for checkups.
What Are the Symptoms?
In the early stages of stomach cancer, the following symptoms may occur:
- Indigestion and stomach discomfort
- A bloated feeling after eating
- Mild nausea
- Loss of appetite
In more advanced stages, the following symptoms may occur:
- Blood in the stool
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Stomach pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdomen)
- Trouble with swallowing.
Other health problems, such as an ulcer or infection, can also cause symptoms of stomach cancer. People who have possible stomach cancer symptoms should see a doctor so that the problem may be diagnosed and treated.