Gastric Cancer Risk & Prevention Information

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
It is estimated that 1 million new cases are diagnosed in the world each year, and more than 723,000 deaths occur annually. Last year alone, it was estimated that more than 10,000 Americans would die from stomach cancer. 1 in 111 men and women are at a lifetime risk of this deadly disease!

In recent years, some types of stomach cancer have declined, while other types – more difficult to detect early and more deadly – are on the rise.


What are the key risks for stomach cancer?

Behavioral/Lifestyle Risks:
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diets rich in smoked, salted, and pickled foods
  • Diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables
Risks for Personal Awareness:
  • Age greater than 50
  • Male gender
  • Type A blood
  • H. pylori bacterial infection
  • Family history (inherited cancers)
  • Hispanic American, African American, Pacific Islanders, or Asian ethnicity

Key Prevention and Risk Reducing Facts
  • Early detection is the key to surviving stomach cancer.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can potentially reduce the risk of stomach cancer
  • Treatment of H. pylori infection (a common bacterial infection of the stomach) can decrease the risk of stomach cancer development.
  • Knowing your family history and discussing it with your healthcare provider can help determine if you are at risk for inherited cancer syndromes.

Stomach Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Early stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms, making early detection very difficult. Stomach cancer may or may not present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal illnesses, however, and should be discussed with a doctor who can perform tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.

Signs & symptoms of stomach cancer can include:
  • Indigestion, heartburn or difficulty swallowing
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting and/or bloating after meals
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite and/or unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Vomiting blood or blood in the stool
  • Sense of fullness after eating small amounts
  • Symptoms may mimic other conditions, such as GERD, gastritis or peptic ulcer
Signs and symptoms should not be ignored. Most of these symptoms may be caused by things other than stomach cancer. They may also occur with other types of cancer. People who have any of these symptoms, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should see their doctor to determine the cause and be treated.


Go with your gut!

If you feel that something isn’t right and you are not getting the answers you need...don’t give up. Be persistent. Continue to seek answers and don’t stop until you get them!


Steps YOU can take to raise awareness and increase knowledge about stomach cancer

1. Know the factors that put you at risk for stomach cancer.

2. Know the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer.

3. Know your family history.

4. Be proactive. Talk with your doctor about your risks for cancer.

5. Visit this site often for up-to-date information.

6. Tell your family and friends what you are learning, and how to visit www.NoStomachForCancer.org

7. Promote/sponsor an awareness event in your school, community, or at your place of work.

8. Browse the ‘Support Us’ menu on this website to discovery the many ways to get involved!


Did you know?
  • Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) is an inherited cancer syndrome that leads to an increased risk for diffuse gastric cancer (up to 80% risk by age 80) and lobular breast cancer (42% risk for women by age 80).
  • It is estimated that one million people world- wide will be diagnosed with stomach cancer this year, and that 723,000 will die from the disease.
  • Stomach cancer is the 5th most common malignancy in the world.
  • Stomach cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide.
  • About 24,590 new cases of stomach cancer were estimated to be diagnosed in the United States alone for the year 2015.
  • Over 10,000 Americans were estimated to die from stomach cancer in 2015.
  • The estimated 5-year survival rate for stomach cancer is only 29.3%.
  • Approximately 1 in 111 men and women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer in their lifetime.
  • The National Cancer Institute invested only $11.2 million to fund stomach cancer research in 2013.
  • Only 0.23% of the National Cancer Institute’s 2013 budget was dedicated to stomach cancer.
  • Stomach cancer received the least amount of NCI research dollars in 2013 when compared to all other cancers.


Sources:
1. American Cancer Society
2. National Cancer Institute: SEER Stat Fact Sheets
3. National Cancer Institute: A Snapshot of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer
4. National Cancer Institute: Fiscal Year 2008 Fact Book
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Progress Review Groups: Report of the Stomach/Esophageal Cancers Progress Review Group
6. Fitzgerald RC, Hardwick R, Huntsman D, Carneiro F, Guilford P, et al. Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer: updated consensus guidelines for clinical management and directions for future research. J Med Genet. 2010;47:436-44.

Additional sources of interest:
1. National Cancer Institute: Funding For Various Research Areas

External Resources

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