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Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

Researchers have yet to identify the exact cause or causes of stomach cancer; however, they have found certain factors that increase a person's risk of developing stomach cancer. Risk factors for stomach cancer include such things as being male, smoking, having a family history of the disease, and eating a diet rich in foods that are smoked, salted, or pickled. Other stomach cancer risk factors include having conditions such as chronic gastritis and being infected with H. pylori bacteria.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors: An Introduction

No one knows the exact cause or causes of stomach cancer, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get stomach cancer and another person will not. However, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop stomach cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a disease.
This eMedTV article uses the term "stomach cancer" to refer to gastric adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular tissue in the stomach). This 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 stomach cancer.)

Specific Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

Stomach cancer risk factors include:
  • Old age (most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are at least 72 years of age)
  • Being male
  • Being of Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, or African American descent
  • Eating a diet rich in foods that are smoked, salted, or pickled
  • Being infected with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Smoking
  • Having certain health problems (such as chronic gastritis) that affect the stomach or intestines
  • Having a family history of stomach cancer.
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