Risk factors that likely develop Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer is the one of the leading causes of cancer in the southern region of India. The second largest cause of cancer-related deaths among both Indian men and women is stomach or gastric cancer. Not many are aware of the risk factors of stomach cancer given the typical lifestyle that has spread indigenously within our country. Twenty-five thousand two hundred men and 27,500 women die of gastric cancer every year in India.

According to experts, the high rate of the cancer is diet and lifestyle related. In many places in India the diet is low in fiber content. Spicy food and lots of non-vegetarian food can cause the chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, which if left untreated can turn cancerous.

Some of the risks of stomach cancer are things that are not considered common knowledge to us.

Tobacco: Everybody knows how harmful tobacco is and smoking almost doubles the risk of stomach cancer.

Bacterial infection: Infection with bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) may be a major cause of stomach cancer & Lymphoma in parentheses. Long-term infection with these bacteria can lead to inflammation and damage of the inner layer of the stomach.

Diet: An increased risk of stomach cancer is linked to diets high in smoked foods, salted fish and meats and pickled vegetables. Eating whole grain products and fresh fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins A and C appears to lower the risk of stomach cancer.

Obesity: Being overweight (excess body fat) or obese (abnormally high, unhealthy amount of body fat) is a major risk factor of many cancers, including cancer of the stomach.

Stomach surgery: This is not a fact you hear every day, stomach cancer is more likely to occur in people who have had part of their stomach removed.

Stomach polyps: Polyps are small mushroom-like growths on the lining of the stomach. Most types of polyps do not increase the risk of stomach cancer. One type, adenomatous polyps, sometimes develops into stomach cancer.

Ethnicity: The rate of stomach cancer is higher in Hispanics and African Americans than in non-Hispanic whites. The highest rates are seen in Asian/Pacific Islanders. This is mainly because these regions tend to store food by salting them rather than refrigerating them.

Age: Stomach cancer is most often diagnosed after the age of 50.

Family history: People with several close relatives who have had stomach cancer are more likely to develop this disease.


Dr. P. Vijay Anand Reddy,

Director, Apollo Cancer Hospitals,