In some cases of gastric cancer, the causative factor of the disease is not identified; the cancer just occurs. Sometimes, however, some factors are known. Common risk factors that are often involved in the development of stomach cancer are:
- Diet – consumption of a diet high in starch, salt and smoked meats, low in protein, fruits and vegetables;
- Aflatoxin fungus – consummation of food contaminated with aflatoxins;
- Surgery – history of surgery to remove gastric or duodenal ulcers;
- Environment – living in a disadvantaged socio-economic group or environment puts you at high risk of becoming a victim of stomach cancer;
- Gastric ulcer – although it is controversial, some scientists believe that gastric ulcers can lead to the development of gastric cancer;
- Helicobacter pylori – Infection by helicobacter pylori is recognized as favoring gastric cancer. In addition, this bacterium is responsible for a certain percentage of gastric ulcers;
- Tobacco – there is no scientific evidence showing that tobacco and alcohol play a role in the development of stomach cancer; however, since tobacco is highly carcinogenic, some researchers believe it may contribute in the development of the disease.
- Age – stomach cancer is diagnosed mostly in older people.
- Family history – if you have a family history of stomach cancer, you are at higher risk.
- Sex – men are more victims of stomach cancer than women are.
- Geography – cancer of the stomach is more common in Southeast Asia (Japan) and Central Europe.
- Diseases – Some rare diseases are considered as causative factors of stomach cancer: pernicious anemia (also called Biermer’s anemia, Addison’s anemia or Addison–Biermer anemia), Menetrier’s disease (also called hyperplastic hypersecretory gastropathy) and gastric adenomas (pre-malignant condition in the stomach).
- Some professions – certain professions increase your risk become a victim of stomach cancer:
1) coal mining
2) nickel refining
3) manufacturing products containing lead
4) rubber and timber processing
5) exposure to asbestos