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.
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%.
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.
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
•Consume no more than 6g of salt per day
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