Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Preventing Stomach Cancer

Summer is here and that often mean more sandwiches, picnics, and grilled meals which can add to your risk for stomach cancers.  The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) latest report on stomach cancer found three major factors contributing to cancer risk.  These are alcohol consumption, eating processed meats and obesity.

In the United States, if we did not have more than three alcoholic drinks a day, did not eat processed meat and were a healthy weight, an estimated one in seven stomach cancer cases could be prevented. That’s approximately 4,000 stomach cancer cases every year that would not happen.  As a side benefit, if they take these steps to reduce stomach cancer, they may also help prevent many others.

1. Get to and stay a healthy weight  
Evidence in the new report makes stomach cancer the 11th cancer linked to being overweight or obese. Other cancers linked to excess body fat include colorectal, post-menopausal breast and ovarian.

2. Cut your hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats
Stomach cancer is now the second cancer linked to eating processed meats regularly, even small amounts. Previous AICR research found convincing evidence that processed meat is a cause of colorectal caner, the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

There are several reason why processed meats could increase risk. One hypothesis is that the preservatives in these meats, such as nitrates and nitrites, lead to carcinogenic compounds, which damage the stomach lining in a way that could lead to cancer.

3. If you do enjoy alcohol, drink moderately
Drinking three alcoholic drinks or more per day increases the risk of stomach cancers, the report concluded. The risk is most apparent in men, as well as smokers and ex-smokers.

Stomach cancer joins a group of others linked to drinking alcohol, including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, liver and colorectal cancer. And, like stomach cancer, research shows that alcohol is particularly harmful when combined with smoking.

For cancer prevention, AICR recommends not to drink alcohol. Modest amounts of alcohol may play a protective role in heart disease. For those who do drink, AICR recommends that men have no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one a day.

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