Stomach cancer risk factors can be attributed to both genetics and certain acquired or environmental factors. While these risk factors can make it more likely for a person to develop stomach cancer, these traits do not directly indicate that a patient is sure to develop stomach cancer.
There are a variety of risk factors for the development of stomach cancer. For example, age and gender can be significant risk factors – stomach cancer typically occurs in people over the age of 55, and men are two times more likely to develop stomach cancer than women. Race can even be a factor since people of African-American, Hispanic or Asian descent are more likely to develop stomach cancer than Caucasians.
Some other stomach cancer risk factors include:
- Diets high in salt or consisting of foods preserved by drying, smoking or pickling
- Previous surgery
- Certain medical conditions, including pernicious anemia, stomach polyps, achlorhydria and long-term stomach inflammation
- Genetic disorders such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (NHPCC or Lynch syndrome) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Occupational or environmental exposures to dust and fumes
Furthermore, one of the biggest stomach cancer risk factors is the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the stomach. H. pylori is a bacterium that causes stomach inflammation and ulcers, and the risk of non-cardia gastric cancer is nearly six times higher for H. pylori-infected people than for uninfected people. However, H. pylori can be tested for and treated with antibiotics.
The Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center is dedicated to the research and treatment of stomach cancer. Our physicians provide advice and guidance to those at high risk for stomach cancer, sharing prevention tips and teaching patients about symptoms. We even offer some of the most effective treatment options and clinical trials available today.
Contact Moffitt to learn more about stomach cancer risk factors, as well as diagnosis and treatment options, by completing our online registration form or calling 1-888-MOFFITT. No referral is necessary to visit our experts specializing in all aspects of stomach cancer care.