What Is the Main Cause of Stomach Cancer?

Reviewed on 4/23/2021

Sromach Cancer

Factors that cause stomach cancer are unknown. It is known that stomach cancer is a result of changes (mutations) in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the stomach cells.
Factors that cause stomach cancer are unknown. It is known that stomach cancer is a result of changes (mutations) in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the stomach cells.

Factors that cause stomach cancer are unknown. It is known that stomach cancer is a result of changes (mutations) in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the stomach cells. These mutations cause the cells to undergo uncontrolled division and result in the formation of abnormal cells. These abnormal cells starve the healthy cells of the body and kill them, eventually causing complications.

The mutation may be hereditary or acquired.

Hereditary mutations are the genetic defects that run down in families and you get them from birth. You may get stomach cancer from your parents through these defective genes.

Acquired mutations are the ones that you develop after birth. Certain factors put you at risk of getting these acquired mutations. These include:

Helicobacter pylori infection:

H pylori is a common bacterium that infects the stomach and causes inflammation in the stomach. Infection with this microbe is a well-known risk factor for stomach cancer. It is easy to test for H pylori infection, and antibiotics can treat its signs and symptoms. However, frequent infections can increase your risk of getting stomach cancer. If you have family members, such as a parent or sibling, with a history of H pylori infection or stomach cancer, you should also get tested for H pylori.

Smoking:

Smokers are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer as nonsmokers.

Alcohol:

Having three or more drinks per day increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Weight gain and obesity:

Being overweight increases a man’s chances of developing stomach cancer. Its role in women’s stomach cancer is unknown.

A diet high in salt and processed foods:

Consuming a diet high in salt has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. Processed foods include foods preserved by grilling, smoking, drying, salting or pickling and foods high in added salt.

Low intake of fruits and vegetables:

A diet that is low in vegetables and fruits increases your risk of developing stomach cancer. A higher intake of fruits and raw vegetables has been shown to lower the risk.

Health conditions

Following conditions increase your odds of developing stomach cancer:

Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)

Stomach polyps (noncancerous growths on the lining of the stomach)

Pernicious anemia (a condition in which the ability of the stomach to absorb vitamin B12 is decreased)

Achlorhydria (lack of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices, which help digest food)

Menetrier disease (hypertrophic gastropathy)

Inherited cancer syndromes:

Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC)

Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC)

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Gastric adenoma and proximal polyposis of the stomach (GAPPS)

Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS)

Stomach surgery:

Backflow (reflux) of bile from the small intestine into the stomach after stomach surgery may also increase your risk for stomach cancer. The cancer may occur years after the surgery.

Age:

If you are older than 55 years of age, you are more at risk of developing stomach cancer.

Male gender:

Men are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer as women.

Race/ethnicity:

Black, Hispanic, and Asian people are more likely to develop stomach cancer than white people.

Certain occupations:

Research suggests people working in the coal, metal, and rubber industries seem to have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer.

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References
American Cancer Society. Stomach Cancer Risk Factors. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

American Society of Clinical Oncology. Stomach Cancer: Risk Factors. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/stomach-cancer/risk-factors#:~:text=Bacteria.,main%20causes%20of%20stomach%20cancer

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