What causes stomach cancer?
While the exact cause for stomach cancer has not been identified, having poor nutritional habits, eating a lot of cured, pickled or smoked foods, eating foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoking, drinking alcohol, and vitamin A deficiency are believed to be risk factors for stomach cancer. Being male, African-American, and over 40 years of age can also increase the
risk of developing the disease.
Several studies have identified a bacterium (Helicobacter pylori) that causes stomach ulcers (inflammation in the inner lining of the stomach). Chronic (long-term) infection of the stomach with these bacteria may lead to a particular type of cancer (lymphomas or mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)) in the stomach.
People who have had previous stomach surgery for ulcers or other conditions may have a higher likelihood of developing stomach cancers, although this is not certain. Another risk factor is developing polyps, benign growths in the lining of the stomach. Although polyps are not cancerous, some may have the potential to turn cancerous.
While no particular gene for stomach cancer has yet been identified, people with blood relatives who have been diagnosed with stomach cancer are more likely to develop the disease. In addition, people who have inherited disorders such as familial adenomatous polyps (FAP) and Lynch syndrome have an increased risk for stomach cancer. For unknown reasons, stomach cancers occur more frequently in people with the blood group A.
Diets rich insalted or smoked foods have been associated with increased cancer risk in many studies. Similarly, some foods contain nitrites and these chemicals can be converted to more harmful compounds (carcinogens) by bacteria in the stomach. Lack of vitamin C, fruit and vegetables may be important. Stomach cancer is more common in smokers and in those with heavy alcohol intake.
Stomach cancer arises from changes in the internal lining of the stomach, the part that is responsible for secreting the acid, fluid and other chemicals. This layer is complicated because as well as having to secrete, it must also protect itself from the acid that it produces, this would otherwise damage the lining and cause an ulcer. The surface is lined with numerous delicate little cells. These are specialized and live for only a few days, after which they drop off into the inside of the stomach. They are replaced by new cells that are generated deep in the lining. The formation and death of the lining cells of the stomach is kept under close control by the body. Each cell develops for its special function and has to link with the other cells close by to form a team which will either secrete acid, protect from acid, secrete other chemicals or act as hormone cells.
More information on stomach cancer
What is stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) is a disease in which normal cells in the stomach tissues become cancerous and grow out of control.
What causes stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer arises from changes in the internal lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is more common in smokers and in those with heavy alcohol intake.
What're the risk factors for stomach cancer? - Risk factors for stomach cancer include eating foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoking, drinking alcohol, and vitamin A deficiency.
What're the symptoms of stomach cancer? - Symptoms of stomach cancer include weight loss, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
How is stomach cancer diagnosed? - A complete medical history will be taken to check for any risk factors. A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess all the symptoms.
What're the stages of stomach cancer? - Staging of stomach cancer is based on how deep the growth has penetrated the stomach lining. Staging may not be complete until after surgery.
What's the treatment for stomach cancer? - Standard treatment available for stomach cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How to prevent stomach cancer? - By avoiding many of the risk factors associated with the disease, it is possible to prevent many stomach cancers.