Stomach Cancer Prevention
There are many things you can do to help prevent stomach cancer, such as avoiding the risk factors you can control and increasing protective factors against the cancer. Examples of risk factors people have control over include smoking and eating a diet high in smoked, salted, or pickled food. While adopting these prevention strategies does not guarantee that you will not get the disease, it will decrease the chances of it occurring.
A stomach cancer risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing the disease. A stomach cancer protective factor is anything that decreases a person's chance of getting the cancer. Preventing stomach cancer involves avoiding risk factors associated with the disease and increasing protective factors against it.
For purposes of this article, the term "stomach cancer" refers to gastric adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular tissue in the stomach). It is the most common type of stomach cancer. Other types of stomach cancer include lymphomas (cancers involving the lymphatic system) and sarcomas (cancers of the connective tissue, such as muscle, fat, or blood vessels).
(Click Lymphoma for information about a less common type of cancer that may develop in the stomach.)
While some risk factors for stomach cancer can be avoided, some cannot. For example, people can choose to quit smoking, but they cannot choose the genes that they have inherited from their parents.
Some stomach cancer risk factors include:
- Eating a diet high in smoked, salted, or pickled food
- Being infected with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- Having certain pre-existing conditions (such as chronic gastritis or pernicious anemia)
- Older age
- Being male
- Having a mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
(Click Stomach Cancer Risk Factors to learn more about risk factors for this type of cancer.)