Risk Factors

The primary risk factors for stomach cancer are:

  • Infection with a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) which is associated with gastric and duodenal ulcers, as well as with chronic dyspepsia (indigestion) . The bacteria live in the lining of the stomach and cause chronic inflammation which leads over time to changes in the stomach cells. Most people with stomach cancer have been infected with helicobacter, but only a small number of those who are infected progress to developing ulcers or cancer.
  • Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the stomach does not produce the protein necessary for Vitamin B-12 absorption. This condition has also been linked to stomach cancer.
  • Being of Asian descent although the incidence of stomach cancer declines sharply in the second and third generation Japanese and Chinese immigrants to the United States
  • Being of African or Hispanic Origin
  • Having grown up in a lower socioeconomic environment
  • Diets heavy in salt, smoked, or preserved foods, or low in fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Advanced age
  • Male gender
  • Genetic factors including hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, and Peutz Jeghers syndrome all predispose people to stomach cancer. Click below to learn more.

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