Stomach Cancer: Prevention & Reducing Risk

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer type worldwide, and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, with an estimated 723,000 deaths annually. Approximately 1 in 111 men and women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer in their lifetime.

In recent years, some types of stomach cancer have declined, while other types ~ more difficult to detect early and more deadly ~ are on the rise.

Stomach Cancer Awareness Facts

  • 3nd leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide
  • Strikes young adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s
  • May be hereditary (HDGC) with up to 80% risk
  • Typically diagnosed in late stages
  • 5 year survival rate for stave IV patients is only 4%, overall rate is about 29%
  • Almost 1 Million new cases diagnosed every year


What are the key risks for stomach cancer?

Some risks cannot be controlled, but others can be REDUCED by focusing on one’s health and choices. Look over the lists below and see what your risks and options might be….

Behavioral / Lifestyle Risks Risks for Personal Awareness
Tobacco use Age 50 and over
Obesity Male gender
Diets rich in smoked, salted and pickled foods Having blood type A
Diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables H. pylori bacterial infection
Environmental exposure to dusts and fumes Megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia
History of stomach polyps or stomach lymphoma
  Race (more common in Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and African Americans than in non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans)
  Family history of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis or BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations
Family history of stomach cancer (inherited cancers)


Key Prevention and Risk Reducing Facts

  • Early detection is the key to surviving stomach cancer.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can potentially reduce the risk of stomach cancer
  • Treatment of H. pylori infection (a common bacterial infection of the stomach) can decrease the risk of stomach cancer development.
  • Knowing your family history and discussing it with your healthcare provider can help determine if you are at risk for inherited cancer syndromes.


Stomach Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Early stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms, making early detection very difficult. Stomach cancer may or may not present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal illnesses, however, and should be discussed with a doctor who can perform tests to determine the cause of the symptoms

Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer can include:
  • Indigestion, heartburn or ulcer-type symptoms
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Abdominal pain or vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Nausea and vomiting and/or bloating after meals
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sense of fullness after eating small amounts of food (also called early satiety)
  • Symptoms may mimic other conditions, such as GERD, gastritis or peptic ulcer

Signs and symptoms should not be ignored. Most of these symptoms may be caused by things other than stomach cancer. They may also occur with other types of cancer. People who have any of these symptoms, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should see their doctor to determine the cause and be treated.  

Go with your gut!

If you feel that something isn’t right and you are not getting the answers you need…don’t give up. Be persistent. Continue to seek answers and don’t stop until you get them!

Steps YOU can take to raise awareness and to protect yourself and your family

  1. Know the factors that put you at risk for stomach cancer.
  2. Know the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer.
  3. Know your family history. Keep it current – your history is being written today.
  4. Be proactive. Talk with your doctor about your risks for cancer.
  5. Visit this site often for up-to-date information.
  6. Tell your family and friends what you are learning, and how to visit www.NoStomachForCancer.org
  7. Promote/sponsor an awareness event in your school, community, or at your place of work.
  8. Browse the ‘Support Us’ menu on this website to discovery the many ways to get involved!

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