Understanding Stomach Cancer: Risk Factors, Prevention, and Early Detection
Stomach cancer is a concern for many people, and understanding its risk factors can help in early detection, prevention, and better management of the disease.
In this blog, we will discuss the factors that may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer and how to minimize these risks. Dr. Nilesh, a GI cancer surgeon from Specialty Surgical Oncology Hospital Research Center shares insights on this topic.
Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer
- Age and Gender: Advancing age increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. It is more common in men than in women. Those with blood type A-positive also have a higher risk.
- Lifestyle Habits: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption dramatically increase the chances of developing stomach cancer. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can help reduce this risk.
- Obesity: Obesity is linked to acid reflux, associated with upper stomach cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating regular physical activity can help lower the risk.
- Infections: Infection with H. pylori, a bacteria that damage the stomach lining, is highly associated with stomach cancer. Additionally, the Epstein-Barr virus is linked to lymphoma of the stomach. Treating these infections early can help prevent the development of stomach cancer.
- Diet: A diet high in salty, smoked, charcoal-cooked, and processed foods increases the risk of stomach cancer. Those who consume less vegetables and fruits and more meat are also at a higher risk. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help lower the risk.
- Family History: Individuals with a family history of stomach cancer have an increased risk. Genetic counseling and regular screening may benefit those with a strong family history.
- Prior Stomach Surgery: Previous stomach surgery, such as the removal of a part of the stomach, can increase the risk of stomach cancer due to reduced acid production. The acid helps protect against bacterial infections. Regular follow-up with a healthcare provider is essential for patients who have undergone stomach surgery.
- Gastrojejunostomy: Bypass surgery, such as gastrojejunostomy, where the stomach is connected to the small intestine, can lead to stomach cancer as the small intestine juices damage the stomach lining. Patients who have undergone this procedure should maintain regular check-ups with their doctor.
- Pernicious Anemia: This type of anemia is associated with atrophic gastritis, which leads to reduced production of B12-absorbing enzymes and less stomach acid. This increases the risk of infection and stomach cancer. Proper diagnosis and management of pernicious anemia can help prevent complications.
Prevention and Early Detection
Recognizing the early signs of stomach cancer and understanding its risk factors are crucial steps in prevention and early detection.
Some common early symptoms of stomach cancer include indigestion, heartburn, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain or discomfort.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, consuming a balanced diet, and monitoring for potential symptoms can help reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Regular check-ups and screenings are also important, especially for those with a higher risk.
Stomach cancer can be a daunting disease, but understanding the risk factors and taking steps to minimize them can significantly impact prevention and early detection.
If you have any concerns or require more information about stomach cancer, do not hesitate to reach out to a medical professional. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will discuss the early signs of stomach cancer and the importance of timely intervention.
Dr. Nilesh is a renowned surgeon/ consultant practicing infinity media surge hospital, and Navkaar cancer clinic Mumbai and he is also visiting consultant at various hospitals in Mumbai, Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai etc. With over 10+years of experience, he is highly trained and specialized in performing cancer surgery procedures from simplest to the most complicated surgeries.