Stomach Cancer Risk Factors
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Video: Risk Factors for Cancer of the StomachRisk Factors for Cancer of the Stomach
Risk Factors for Cancer of the Stomach
Find out about the risk factors for developing stomach cancer.
What Are the Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer?
Although the causes of stomach cancer do vary, some risk factors are genetic. For example, men typically have higher rates of stomach cancer than women and in the United States, Hispanics and African Americans have higher instances of the disease than non-Hispanic whites. Certain hereditary conditions may also increase the risk for stomach cancer.
Heredity & Stomach Cancer Risk
Certain gene mutations and some inherited conditions are considered stomach cancer risk factors. They include:
BRCA1 & BRCA2 - Inherited mutations on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are often associated with higher risks for breast cancer. Individuals who have inherited these genetic mutations are also at an increased risk for stomach cancer.
E-cadherin/CDH1 - Though rare, people who inherit this genetic mutation have a 70 to 80 percent chance of developing stomach cancer in their lifetime. Also, women with this genetic defect have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Lynch Syndrome - This condition may also be referred to as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), a genetic condition that runs in families. More commonly, this condition is associated with an increased risk for colon cancer. HNPCC also predisposes people to stomach cancers.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) - This syndrome causes polyps in the colon, stomach and intestines. Often caused by mutations of the gene APC, this syndrome greatly increases a person's risk of colorectal cancer and may play a small role in increasing a person's stomach cancer risk.
There may be little that individuals can do about their inherited risk factors for stomach cacner, but there are lifestyle choices everyone can manage in order to reduce the overall risk. Diet and weight management are a good start. Additionally, certain foods, such as cured meats, can increase your chances of a stomach infection caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria (H. pylori).
H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
Doctors have found that a long-term H. pylori infection may lead to inflammation and pre-cancerous changes to the stomach lining. In fact, stomach cancer patients typically have a higher incidence of H. pylori infections than people who do not have stomach cancer.
Like most risk factors, however, having an H. pylori infection does not mean you will develop stomach cancer. This is just one of many possible causes of stomach cancer.
Additional stomach cancer risk factors include:
- Tobacco use
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Working in the coal, metal or rubber industries
- Pernicious anemia
You should discuss any risk factors for stomach cancer with a medical professional. Testing for certain genetic mutations may help doctors better assess your risk.
NOTE: Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. Not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.
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