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Stomach Cancer

What Causes Stomach Cancer?

Last updated on:
24/04/2012

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

So far, no single cause has been identified, but some of the risk factors associated with stomach cancer are:

Diseases And Disorders

Stomach cancer often begins at a site where the stomach lining is inflamed or irritated. However, many experts argue that inflammation is the result of stomach cancer, not its cause.

Some studies have suggested that stomach ulcers can lead to cancer, but other experts believe most people with ulcers and stomach cancer probably had an undetected cancer before the ulcers developed.

Stomach polyps are thought to be forerunners of cancer and are removed as a precaution. Cancer is increasingly likely with certain types of polyp, a polyp larger than ¾ inch, or when a number of polyps are present.

Medical conditions that may contribute to stomach cancer include:

  • Two types of anemia (megaloblastic anemia and pernicious anemia)
  • Partial removal of the stomach (gastrectomy)
  • A stomach disorder called atrophic gastritis, or Menetrier's disease

Environmental Factors

Exposure to certain dusts, molds, fumes, and other environmental agents at home or in the workplace has been linked to a higher than average risk of stomach cancer.

Some experts believe that smoking might increase stomach cancer risk.

Infection

Helicobacter pylori bacteria associated with duodenal ulcers, has been implicated in stomach cancers.

Diet

Some dietary factors are believed to play a role in the development of stomach cancer. If followed over a long period of time, these dietary practices may increase your risk. These include:

  • A high salt intake
  • High intake of preservatives called nitrates, which are found in salted, pickled, or smoked foods
  • A low intake of green leafy vegetables and fruit
 
 

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.