Risks and Prevention

The following factors influence the risk of developing stomach adenocarcinoma.

Infection with helicobacter pylori bacteria
Infection with the H. pylori bacteria may lead to chronic inflammation of the inner layer of the stomach and possibly the development of pre-cancers. Helicobacter pylori infection may also result in certain rare gastric lymphomas, which can be treated by treating the Helicobacter infection with antibiotics.

A diet high in smoked and salted foods, such as smoked fish, meat, and pickled vegetables, has been shown to increase a person's chances of developing stomach cancer. High consumption of red meat also raises this risk. Conversely, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables (particularly those high in beta-carotene and vitamin C) can decrease this risk. A deficiency in the dietary mineral known as selenium may also increase the risk of gastric cancer.

Stomach cancer is more common among Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and African Americans than Caucasians.

Stomach cancer is more common in men than in women.

Stomach cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65.

Other possible risk factors include:

  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • Previous stomach surgery, such as removal of part of the stomach in individuals with ulcers
  • Pernicious anemia, a very rare autoimmune condition in which the stomach no longer produces acid, making it hard to absorb vitamin B12
  • Ménétrier disease, a very rare condition associated with the growth of large folds in the stomach and low production of stomach acids
  • Blood type A (for unknown reasons)
  • Family cancer syndromes, such as hereditary nonpolyopsis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, and familial adenomatous polyposis, all of which increases risk of colorectal cancer and slightly increase stomach cancer risk
  • Family history of stomach cancer, possibly resulting from E-cadherin mutation
  • Family history of breast cancer. People carrying mutations of the inherited genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 may also have a higher rate of stomach cancer.
  • Stomach polyps (small benign growths that sometimes develop into stomach cancers)
  • Obesity