5 Diet-Related Factors That May Increase Gastric Cancer Risk

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According to ongoing research, there is still much to learn about how and why food choices affect cancer risk.

Stomach cancer and diet: 5 diet-related factors that may increase the risk of gastric cancer (Source: Freepik)

There is growing evidence that the foods we eat can increase our chances of developing certain types of cancer. According to recent research from the World Cancer Research Fund International, stomach cancer is one of them. It is the 4th most common cancer in India. Cancer can develop in any part of your stomach. Although most cases of stomach cancer in the Western population develop at the junction of stomach and esophagus (gastroesophageal junction), in the South Indian population, cancer of the lower part of the stomach called the pylorus is common. Stomach cancer is much more common in Asian countries than in the West.

November is celebrated annually as “Stomach Cancer Awareness Month” to raise awareness of the life-changing condition, the risks involved, and how to mitigate them.

stomach cancer and diet

According to ongoing research on nutrition and cancer risk, there is still much to learn about how and why dietary choices affect cancer risk. Some cancer-prone foods are:

1. High-salt diets

An excessively salty diet and pickled foods can make several cancers more likely, especially stomach cancer. Indians are generally fond of pickles. In addition, the consumption of foods high in salt can lead to the synthesis of N-nitroso compounds (NOCs). Many of them have been identified by the IARC as potentially carcinogenic to humans. Additionally, high salt intake has been linked to an increased risk of several cancers, including esophageal and stomach cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s ideal to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to around less than 2,300 milligrams per day.

2. Food infection

Food poisoning from a bacteria called H. Pylori found in unhealthy foods is known to cause stomach cancer. This infection is very common in India and is estimated to affect 50-80% of the population. H. Pylori infection is known to be associated with stomach cancer of the pyloric part of the stomach which is common in India. This infection is spread by food contamination and is also responsible for gastritis, which is very common. According to scientists, high salt intake has been linked to an increased risk of Helicobacter pylori infection because this bacteria can live in salty foods. H. pylori infections greatly increase the risk of stomach cancer.

3. Red and Processed Meats

Recent research indicates that excessive consumption of processed meat is strongly associated with several cancers. According to a 2018 analysis by Trusted Source, consuming more processed meat such as sausages, up to 60 grams (g) per day, and red meat, up to 150 g per day, increases the risk of colorectal cancer by almost 20%. According to an assessment by the World Health Organization, processed meats are carcinogenic to humans, increasing the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

Compounds formed during cooking and high temperature processes can damage cells. This can initiate the development of cancerous cells. Therefore, diets high in processed foods and red meat are linked to increased risks of various malignancies, including stomach cancer.

4. Ultra-processed foods

Deeply processed food ingredients derived from industrial processing, such as protein isolates, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners and thickeners, are frequently included in products. food.

Packaged sweet and salty snacks, sodas and energy drinks, morning cereals, reconstituted meat products, frozen pizzas, candy, etc. are ultra-processed meals and drinks. Diets high in ultra-processed foods, such as diets in the Western world, greatly increase the risk of developing stomach cancers.

5. Food Supplements

Specific dietary supplements and chemical contamination of food packaging may also contribute to elevated cancer risk from consuming foods that have undergone extensive processing. Consumption of extremely processed foods is associated with several other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk of death from all causes. To reduce the risk of contracting these diseases, trying to limit the consumption of ultra-processed products as much as possible is vital.

Research indicates that certain eating habits and foods can increase the risk of certain cancers, although many factors, including those that a person cannot control, can affect the risk of developing cancer.

Although much remains to be understood about how nutrition affects the onset and progression of cancer, limiting or significantly avoiding these foods and changing eating habits will likely improve overall health and reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. .

(With contributions from Dr. Sandeep Nayak P, Director – Department of Surgical Oncology and Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgery, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru)




Publication date: Nov 20, 2022 4:53 p.m. IST

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