Stomach cancer risk higher with alcohol and processed meat consumption

By: Emily Lunardo | Health News | Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 11:00 AM

Stomach cancer risk higher with alcohol and processed meat consumptionThe risk of stomach cancer was found to be higher in those who consume high amounts of alcohol and processed meat. Excess weight is another contributing factor to stomach cancer. Furthermore, the risk of stomach cancer continues to rise as a person consumes more alcohol and processed meat, or puts on more weight.

The findings come from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. The researchers suggest that one in seven stomach cancer cases can be prevented if people stick to less than three alcoholic beverages a day, avoid processed meat, and maintain a healthy weight. The researchers note that these measures would prevent up to 4,000 stomach cancer cases a year.

Alice Bender, head of nutrition programs at the cancer institute said, “This is the first report to find strong evidence of these links. There are things we can do to lower our risk for cancer. There are choices we make every day that can make a difference.”

Findings from the report included:

  • Three of more alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk of stomach cancer.
  • For every 1.8 ounces of processed meat consumed a day – one hot dog or two slices of bologna – stomach cancer risk increases by 18 percent.
  • Every five-unit increase in body mass index increases the risk of stomach cancer by 23 percent.

Every year, there are up to one million new stomach cancer cases worldwide, making it the fifth most common cancer. Survival rate in stomach cancer is 25 to 28 percent, as it is generally caught at the later stages when symptoms begin to occur. Men typically are more likely to develop stomach cancer, compared to women, and the average age of diagnosis is 72 years.

The researchers took their study one step further by focusing on two types of stomach cancer: upper stomach and lower stomach. The researchers found that being overweight or obese constituted a risk factor for upper stomach cancer as extra weight increases the risk of acid reflux, which damages the stomach. Alcohol and processed meat were found to increase the risk of lower stomach cancer as they affect the release of insulin, human growth factors, and inflammation.

By following current cancer-prevention guidelines of cutting your alcohol intake to one or two drinks a day and limiting processed meats, you can lower your risk of stomach cancer. Essentially, partaking in healthy lifestyle habits can reduce your overall cancer risk.

Also, read Bel Marra Health report on RNA Biomarker may help predict stomach cancer survival.


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