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Learning about stomach cancer: My House

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

Cancer risk factors are things that put you at higher risk for having cancer. Stomach cancer risk factors may include:

  • Bacterial infection: infection of the stomach with bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori can increase the risk for stomach cancer in some people
  • Past surgery or health conditions: people who have had stomach surgery and people with conditions that cause long-term inflammation of the stomach are at an increased risk for stomach cancer
  • Smoking: people who smoke double their risk for stomach cancer
  • Family health history and inherited disorders: if your father, mother, brother, or sister, or child has had stomach cancer, you are more likely to have it
  • Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or obesity: a diet high in smoked, salted, or pickled foods may increase the risk for stomach cancer, as can a lack of physical activity or being obese
  • Certain jobs: people who are exposed to certain dusts and fumes seem to be at higher risk for stomach cancer

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for stomach cancer.

To the right are examples of organizations and resources you may find helpful. Click on the links to visit those websites and learn more.


How do I get screened for stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is not very common in the United States, so most people are not screened for it. Without screening, stomach cancer is most often found through its symptoms. If you have certain risk factors for or symptoms of stomach cancer, talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits of screening.

To the right are examples of organizations and resources you may find helpful. Click on the links to visit those websites and learn more.


What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Because screening for stomach cancer is not common, it is important to know the symptoms. Symptoms of stomach cancer may include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the belly button
  • A sense of fullness after even a small meal
  • Heartburn, indigestion, or ulcerlike symptoms
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Throwing up (vomiting, with or without blood)
  • Swelling in the abdomen

Most of these symptoms can be caused by something other than stomach cancer. Talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and concerns.

To the right are examples of organizations and resources you may find helpful. Click on the links to visit those websites and learn more.


How do I lower my risk for or prevent stomach cancer?

Eating healthfully, being active, and not smoking can help prevent stomach cancer. Staying at a healthy weight may also lower your risk. Also, if you have a family history of stomach cancer, genetic testing for certain conditions passed down through families can help you and your healthcare provider plan ahead. Talk with your healthcare provider about lowering your risk for stomach cancer.

To the right are examples of organizations and resources you may find helpful. Click on the links to visit those websites and learn more.

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