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6 Keys to Stomach Cancer Prevention

November is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, which invites you to learn more about the 4th most common cancer in the USA–and how you can reduce your risk. While a family history may increase your odds, there are several proven prevention strategies. For example:

Scale back on sodium
Varying rates of stomach–or gastric–cancer (GC) across the globe indicate that dietary factors–especially foods with added salt and/or nitrates–increase your odds. The majority of studies indicate that salt intake is closely linked with GC mortality.1

Avoid smoked and pickled foods
Many studies show that salted/smoked and pickled/preserved foods–loaded with nitrites and preformed nitrosocompounds–boost your GC risk. By contrast, fresh fruit/veggies and antioxidants lower your risk.2 Food consumed very hot has also been shown to promote GC.3

Nix the processed meats
Processed meats like bacon, salami, and cold cuts are another proven GC risk factor,4,5 partly due to their nitrites/nitrates content. In fact, a high intake of these proven carcinogens can actually double your GC risk.6 One study found that the risk of developing GC within 10 years for the 60 yr. old subjects eating the most meat was 33%.7

Fortify with antioxidants
Research suggests that antioxidant supplements like vitamins A, C, and E and selenium may reduce GC risk. One study found that beta–carotene, vitamin E, and selenium combined significantly reduced incidence of both GC and cancer overall.8 Along with supplementing antioxidants, GC may be reduced by up to 50% by dietary changes that include more fresh produce.9

Don’t get fat
Obesity may also increase your GC risk. The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a healthy weight throughout life by balancing calorie intake with physical activity. Aside from slashing GC risk, trimming pounds can also help protect you from several other cancers/health problems related to obesity.

Steer clear of tobacco
Tobacco use can increase the risk of many forms of cancer–including some stomach cancers. This dangerous substance is responsible for about one third of all cancer deaths in the United States. Try to avoid tobacco exposure, period, including secondhand smoke.

While none of us are 100% immune to cancer, why not take all possible precautions?

1 World J Gastroenterol. 2009 May 14;15(18):2204-13
2 Ann Ist Super Sanita. 1996;32(1):85-99
3 J BUON. 2010 Jan-Mar;15(1):89-93
4 J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Aug 2;98(15):1078-87
5 Gastric Cancer. 2007;10(2):75-83. Epub 2007 Jun 25
7 J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Mar 1;98(5):345-54
6 Int J Cancer. 2009 Sep 15;125(6):1424-30
8 J Natl Cancer Inst 1993;85:1483�91
9 Gastric Cancer. 2002;5 Suppl 1:5-11

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