Stomach cancer is still a much debated topic, as no single cause has been identified till date. There are various factors that may contribute to this condition.
Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases, and as per estimates, stomach cancer alone causes around 800,000 deaths throughout the world, in one year! This type of cancer is said to be highly common in Japan.
It has been observed that stomach cancer is mostly found in men, as compared to women. Those who are above the age of 50, are said to be more prone to this condition. Even though, no specific cause can be attributed to this disease, it is believed that a combination of various risk factors, could lead to this condition.
What causes stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is believed to be caused by a combination of various risk factors, that may vary from one patient to another. These include factors relating to diet, lifestyle, environmental factors, certain diseases, and heredity.
Certain diseases and disorders
Medical conditions, like Helicobacter pylori infection, long-term stomach inflammation due to chronic gastritis and anemia (especially, megaloblastic anemia and pernicious anemia), polyps in stomach, and acid reflux, are considered as contributory factors. It is said that gastrectomy is also a risk factor for stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer is also linked to some lifestyle factors, like obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking. Even excessive alcohol consumption is said to be a risk factor for stomach cancer.
Exposure to some types of molds, fumes, and dust, may cause stomach cancer. It has also been noted that exposure to certain chemicals (like, those used in rubber and lead manufacturing) could also be among the contributory factors.
They include a regular and long-term intake of highly salty food, pickles, spicy foods, and smoked foods. Even those food items with preservatives, like nitrates, are said to cause stomach cancer. A diet with low amounts of fruits and vegetables may also contribute to this type of cancer.
A family history of stomach cancer is a major risk factor. It is also claimed that those with type A blood group are more prone to develop this type of cancer. African descent is also considered a risk factor.
The most common symptoms of stomach cancer are bloating and fullness, abdominal pain, heartburn, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea/constipation, nausea and vomiting, and blood in vomit or stool. These symptoms may be mistaken for other diseases. So, it is always better to consult your health care provider, and undergo a thorough diagnosis, so as to rule out the possibility of stomach cancer.
More about Stomach Cancer
We all know that stomach is meant for collection and digestion of food. The strong acids and enzymes produced in the stomach, aid in digestion of the food particles, as well as in destruction of harmful microorganisms. This organ has five layers. Usually, stomach cancer (or gastric cancer) starts from the inner layer, and progresses to other layers. Once it reaches the outer layer, it can spread to the nearby organs like pancreas, liver, esophagus, and intestines. The cancer cells may also break off and spread throughout the body. It can start from any location in the stomach wall, but areas near the esophagus is found to be more prone to this condition.
Stomach cancer is categorized into different types, and the most common among them is adenocarcinoma, which affects the glandular cells that line the inner surfaces of the stomach. The other three types are lymphoma (affects the immune system cells in the stomach wall), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (affects the nervous system cells in the stomach), and carcinoid cancer (affects hormone producing cells).
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.