Stomach cancer

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Reducing your risk for stomach cancer

You may lower your risk of developing stomach cancer by doing the following.

Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke

One way to lower your risk for stomach cancer is to avoid all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff and second-hand smoke. If you smoke, get help to quit.

Limit the amount of salt and salty foods you eat

Research shows that diets high in salt and salty foods, including salt-preserved and salted foods, may increase your risk for stomach cancer. Try to eat salty foods in small amounts and less often. Limit the amount of salt you use in cooking and add less salt to your food at the table.

Eat vegetables and fruit

Eating a variety of vegetables and fruit each day probably protects against stomach cancer.

Limit the amount of smoked, cured and processed foods you eat

Eating less smoked, cured and processed foods, particularly meats, may lower your risk of developing stomach cancer. If you eat smoked, cured or processed foods, have them in small amounts and less often.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Some studies have shown that being obese may increase the risk for stomach cancer. You may lower your risk by having a healthy body weight. Eating well and being physically active can help you have a healthy body weight.

Follow occupational health and safety instructions

Research suggests that working in the rubber manufacturing industry increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. Occupational exposure to certain substances, such as asbestos, lead, tin and coal, may also increase risk of stomach cancer.

Be sure to use the protective clothing and equipment provided by your employer to help minimize the risk of exposure to potentially harmful substances. Follow government and manufacturer guidelines for handling harmful substances.

Talk to your doctor about treatment for Helicobacter pylori

Having a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection increases the risk of developing stomach cancer, but not everyone with this infection will develop stomach cancer. Some studies show that treating an H. pylori infection with antibiotics may reduce the risk for stomach cancer.

Find out if you’re at high risk

Some people have a higher than average risk for stomach cancer. People who have the following are at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer:

  • H. pylori infection
  • family history of stomach cancer
  • an inherited condition such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
  • a stomach condition like chronic atrophic gastritis

Talk to your doctor about your risk. If it’s higher than average, you may need to visit your doctor more often and have an endoscopy to check for stomach cancer.

More information about preventing cancer

Learn what you can do to prevent cancer.


A procedure that uses an endoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and lens) to examine or treat organs or structures in the body.

Cells or tissue may be removed for examination under a microscope. Doctors may also use endoscopy to control bleeding or remove tumours and foreign bodies.

Specialized endoscopies are named for the organ or structure they examine or treat.


Dr Alison Allan How bones help breast cancers spread

Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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