Stomach cancer can have unknown causes. However, knowing the possible causes and risks can help you learn more about how to potentially prevent developing it.
Common Causes of Stomach Cancer
Normally, stomach cancer occurs when a mutation happens in the DNA of the stomach’s cells. The mutation makes the cell grow and divide rapidly. They often outlive normal, healthy cells.
The cancer cells accumulate to create a tumor, which could invade nearby organs. It is also possible that some cancer cells separate from the tumor then spread throughout your body.
There is no clear cause for stomach cancer. Scientists still do not know what causes cancer cells to suddenly grow in people’s stomachs.
You can be born with a gene mutation that makes you more likely to develop stomach cancer. However, gene mutations can happen after birth as well. Certain forces can create gene mutations like carcinogens, hormones, smoking, etc.
However, there are certain factors that can increase your risks of developing stomach cancer, which include:
An H. Pylori Infection
Studies show that an infection, particularly from Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer. It is a common bacteria that can also cause ulcers.
The H. pylori pathogen is thought to be a common cause of stomach cancer. The bacteria can cause chronic inflammation. Since the pathogen lives in the stomach, the infection greatly increases the chances of developing gastric cancer.
Around 60% of people who have a H. pylori infection have intestinal metaplasia. Intestinal metaplasia is when the stomach lining’s cells are replaced with cells resembling those within the intestine.
This is a general term that refers to a group of conditions that have a commonality: inflammation of the stomach’s lining. It is often caused by H. pylori, alcohol abuse, and regularly taking certain pain relievers.
Chronic atrophic gastritis can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer. This can develop due to an autoimmune reaction, inflammation of stomach cells or decreased or absent stomach glands.
However, researchers are not sure why conditions like gastritis lead to stomach cancer.
Diets High in Smoked and Salty Foods
There are strong links between smoked and salty foods and stomach cancer. Studies show that people who eat salty food regularly had a higher risk of stomach cancer.Potentially, it could be because salty and smoked foods can damage the stomach. Diets high in foods like these can also cause GERD.
Studies suggest that people who have pernicious anemia are more likely to get stomach cancer. Pernicious anemia is a red blood cell deficiency that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough intrinsic factor, which is crucial to vitamin B12 absorption.Pernicious anemia’s symptoms are often stomach-related, such as abdominal gas, bloating, vomiting, etc.
Obesity and Being Overweight
People who are obese or overweight are two times more likely to get gastric cardia cancer. The risk increases by 4% for each kilogram increase in the body mass index.
People with type-A blood have a higher risk of getting stomach cancer. Additionally, people with this blood type are more likely to get infected by the H. pylori pathogen, which can cause stomach cancer.
Those with gastric ulcers are at higher risk for developing stomach cancer.Gastric ulcers are open sores, which can easily get infected by bacteria. The infections could cause mutations in your DNA, damaging the stomach lining’s cells.
They can also be caused by consuming nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen for long periods of time.
Epstein-Barr Virus Infection
Some studies suggest that there is a link between gastric cancer and the EBV infection. However, evidence is limited, so there is not enough proof to support this claim.
As many people know, smoking increases your risk of developing cancer. However, it is not limited to lung cancer, as smokers have an increased chance of developing stomach cancer.
Certain genes can make you more likely to develop stomach cancer. For instance, hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, or HDGC for short, significantly puts you at a higher risk of getting stomach cancer.The gene that often gets associated with HDGC is CDH1. The mutation in that gene can increase your risk for stomach cancer along with other cancers that are associated with HDGC.
Generally, men are more likely to get stomach cancer than women.A study suggests injected Tamoxifen, estrogen, both, or none into male mice. All the male mice had gastritis prior to getting treatment.The female mice received either nothing or Tamoxifen. The researchers believed that Tamoxifen would cancel out the protective effects of the estrogen in male and female mice.
All of the male mice who received treatment did not develop stomach cancer, and neither did the female mice. However, 40% of the untreated male mice got stomach cancer.
Being Over 50 Years old
Stomach cancer can occur at any age. However, statistics reveal that gastric cancer is more likely to occur between the ages of 50-70 years.
There is no known cause of cancer cells mutating and developing in the stomach. However, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing gastric cancer.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.