What can I do?
Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 56 out of 100 cases of stomach cancer2. Here’s how:
About 23% of new cases were linked to a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. pylori is mostly found in the stomach. It’s not known how many people have the infection because many who have the infection never have symptoms.
A study into colon cancer done in Ontario found that between about 17% and 38% of people with colon cancer also had the H. pylori bacterium in their stomach3.
People who have H. pylori infections are about 2½ times more likely to develop certain kinds of stomach cancer4.
Tobacco smoking is linked to about 21% of new cases. Tobacco has cancer-causing toxins (called carcinogens) that damage cells in the stomach. Over time, the damaged cells can turn into cancer. You can lower your risk for stomach cancer when you quit using tobacco or cut down.
Not eating enough fruits and vegetables is linked to almost 19% of new cases. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR)5 recommend eating at least 5 servings (400 g) of non-starchy vegetables and fruit every day to help prevent cancer.
Too much salt in the diet is linked to about 12% of new cases. Health Canada6 recommends anyone over the age of 14 years get no more than 2300 mg per day.