What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?
Some risk factors for stomach cancer can be controlled and others cannot. Some of the controllable risk factors can include:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Eating a diet high in smoked, salted or pickled foods.
- Being overweight or obese.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Having an illness that lowers the level of acid in your stomach, including Ménétrier disease and pernicious anemia.
- Being infected with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
- Having a genetic (inherited) syndrome such as Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC), familial adenomatous polyposis, or mutations in certain genes (BRCA1, BRCA2, CHD1).
- Having type A blood.
What can you do to prevent stomach cancer?
There is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer. However, you can reduce your risk for stomach cancer by:
- Not using tobacco. Speak with your doctor if you need help quitting.
- Exercising regularly.
- Eating a healthy diet low in red and processed meat. Aim for plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist [Link to: nutrition counseling page] about what you should include in a healthy diet.
- Keeping a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for you.
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Treating helicobacter pylori infections.
- Asking your doctor about genetic testing and screening recommendations if you have an inherited disease that increases your risk for stomach cancer. In some cases, your doctor may recommend removing the stomach to prevent disease.