Stomach or gastric cancer kills 11,000 people each year in this country. It is also the fifth most common cancer in the world, affecting 950,000 people each year.

Reduce stomach cancer risk

Fork And Salad

Stomach or gastric cancer kills 11,000 people each year in this country. It is also the fifth most common cancer in the world, affecting 950,000 people each year. It is a very common cancer in Japan, therefore they have early screening practices. Unfortunately the symptoms are pretty vague, so by the time of diagnosis it is usually advanced.

The most common stomach cancer symptoms include:

  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Early sense of fullness when eating
  • Poor appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

These are the risk factors for developing stomach cancer, as outlines by the American Institute of Cancer Research:

  • Processed Meats – this includes meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or have added preservatives.
    • Examples: ham, bacon, salami, pastrami, hotdogs.
  • Alcohol intake that is excessive or three or more drinks daily.
    • Note: One drink = 12 ounce beer, 1.5 ounces hard liquor or ½ cup wine
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Infection of the H. pylori bacteria
    • This causes inflammation and results in pre-cancerous cells.

Many of the stomach cancer risks listed above are risky behaviors for other types of cancer including breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. So tackling any or all of those risk factors will have broad health benefits.

Processed meats intake has also been linked to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and strokes, so let them go by the wayside as much as you can. Fresh meat, especially lean fish and poultry, are better choices. Meatless meals can solve the problem also – bean soup, hearty veggie-based soups, and big salads topped with nuts such as pecans and walnuts.

Because of their many health-promoting benefits, the American Cancer Society recommends a lot of fruits and vegetables each day to offer protection from a whole host of cancers. Include seasonal product at each meal, and then add a variety of colorful options to snacks, too – dark purple grapes and plums, deep red cherries, blue blueberries and blackberries, red and green bell peppers, orange carrots, etc.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.