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Consuming processed meat, alcohol ups the risk of stomach cancer

Several lifestyle factors, including obesity and consumption of processed meat and alcohol, increase the risk of stomach cancer, according to a new report published on Thursday.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 23, 2016 16:40 IST
Stomach Cancer

According to a new study, 50g a day of processed meat, equivalent to two rashers of bacon, increases the risk of non-cardia stomach cancer by 18%.(Shutterstock)

Several lifestyle factors, including obesity and consumption of processed meat and alcohol, increase the risk of stomach cancer, according to a new report published on Thursday.

After an analysis of global research, the World Cancer Research Fund International found that processed meat, alcohol, obesity and a diet high in salted food can all contribute to the disease.

The review looked at 89 studies from all around the world and a total of 77,000 cases of stomach cancer. The evidence builds upon the findings from the organization’s last review on stomach cancer published in the 2007 Second Expert Report.

Read: Cancer second biggest killer after heart disease in India, accounts for 15% of all deaths in 2013

The report looked at the two main types of stomach cancer, cardia and non-cardia. Cardia stomach cancer is located at the top of the stomach and is more commonly found in high-income countries.

Non-cardia stomach cancer affects the rest of the stomach, and, as well as being more common in Asia, is also associated with H.pylori infection, a bacterial infection that can cause stomach ulcers.

From the analysis strong evidence suggests that 50g a day of processed meat, equivalent to two rashers of bacon, increases the risk of non-cardia stomach cancer by 18%.

Having three drinks a day also increases the risk of stomach cancer, especially in men and both smokers and ex-smokers. (Shutterstock)

Forty-five grams of alcohol per day, equivalent to around three drinks, also increases the risk of the disease, particularly in men and both smokers and ex-smokers.

Being overweight or obese, which is already linked to ten other cancers, has now also been found to increase the risk of cardia stomach cancer, increasing the risk by 23% for every five body mass index units.

And although salt consumption is a more difficult factor to measure, resulting in weaker evidence to suggest a link between salt and stomach cancer, the report does suggest that a high consumption of foods preserved by salting, especially Asian-style salted vegetables or dried salted fish, is also a cause of stomach cancer.

Read: Super veggies: Potatoes, onions keep stomach cancer at bay

As the third biggest cancer killer in the world and with over 9,00,000 new cases of stomach cancer a year, the World Cancer Research Fund International believes that a focus on the prevention of the disease is particularly important.

Based on their findings the organisation now recommends taking the following measures to maintain a healthier lifestyle and lower the risk of stomach cancer:

•Maintain a healthy weight

•Avoid processed meat

•Avoid alcohol

•Consume no more than 6g of salt per day

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