Stomach cancer: risk factors

Stomach cancer is a malignant epithelial tumor that develops from the mucous membrane of the stomach. According to the International Agency for Research on Stomach Cancer, 900,000 new cases of stomach cancer are detected each year and about 650,000 deaths from this disease.

Stomach cancer affects people in different countries of the world with varying frequency. Stomach cancer remains the most common form of cancer in many countries of Asia (Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Costa Rica, etc.), Eastern Europe (Germany, Norway, Austria, Iceland Poland, etc.) and South America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, etc.), some republics of the former Soviet Union (Russian Federation, Baltic countries). The lowest incidence of stomach cancer is observed in the USA, Canada, Western European countries (in white population except Spanish-speaking), Indonesia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand. If we talk about age, a tumor in the stomach can occur almost in any period of life. Both men and women begin to have significant rates of morbidity at the age of 50-59 years, reaching a maximum at the age of 70 years and older, although not so rarely stomach cancer occurs in people 30-35 years old and even younger.

How dangerous is stomach cancer to the patient?

Stomach cancer: risk factors

A tumor in the stomach can interfere with digestion and prevent food from entering the lower parts of the digestive tract. Cancerous tumor germinates the stomach wall, can spread to other organs – grow into the large intestine, pancreas, liver. If the tumor is located near the esophagus, it can spread to him and disturb the passage of food into the stomach. As a result, all this leads to weight loss up to exhaustion. The tumor can spread through lymphatic and blood vessels to other organs (liver, lungs, brain, bones, etc.), where it gives growth centers (metastases). As a result of the body’s malfunction, death occurs.

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

The causes of cancer of the stomach and other tumors of man have not yet been finally clarified. Only some factors predisposing to the tumor are determined. Epidemiological studies on the peculiarities of the spread of malignant tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, high morbidity in humans and the rarity of spontaneous stomach cancer in animals, indicate a connection between the emergence of cancer and the peculiarities of life and nutrition in humans. In this regard, the nature of food, the way it is cooked, temperature and diet are important. Occasional feeding, the prevalence of animal fats, salt, a large number of spices, overcooked foods, eating too hot food, irritation of the mucous membrane with spicy condiments lead to the development of chronic inflammatory changes in the mucous membrane of the stomach, on the background of which may appear the focal proliferative processes, and then stomach cancer.

Overeating has a negative effect. Poorly chewed hard pieces of rough food additionally cause systematic trauma to the delicate mucous membrane of the stomach.

Stomach cancer: risk factors

Summarizing the different information between diet and stomach cancer, lifestyle of people from different countries, their culture, many authors note that in a population with a high risk of gastric cancer, food contains little fat, animal proteins, fruits and vegetables, but is rich in vegetation with an excess of starch (potatoes, bread, flour products, rice); there is also a lack of consumption of fresh herbs, trace elements, vitamin C, excessive consumption of table salt. It has been found that persons mainly eating dairy products, less often suffer from stomach diseases. Inadequate nutrition and low socio-economic level are attributed to factors of high risk of stomach tumors.

The etiological factors causing stomach cancer include a diverse group of substances, as well as physical, chemical factors combined with the general term “carcinogens”.

Nitrates and nitrites are carcinogenic metabolites that can potentiate the stomach if exposed to stomach epithelium over a prolonged period of time. The main source of nitrates and nitrites for the human body are food products. A non-food source of nitrates and nitrites in the human body is smoking.

Environment: an increased risk of stomach cancer is noted in persons in contact with asbestos, nickel, workers in the production of rubber, mineral oils.

It is impossible to exclude completely also a role of genetic factors in occurrence of a stomach cancer though this question is not studied enough yet. According to a number of carried out researches, if someone in a family has a stomach cancer, all other close relatives are 20% more likely to get sick. Analysis of family morbidity showed that close relatives of stomach cancer patients are a risk group, but at the same time, this does not apply to spouses.