Consuming processed meats, obesity and alcohol may increase the risk of stomach cancer, a new report suggests.
Researchers from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) conducted a study, first of its kind, to determine the link between eating processed food, alcohol and obesity; and the risk of developing stomach cancer.
The researchers have found that drinking three alcoholic drinks or more per day (45 grams of alcohol or more) may increase the risk of stomach cancer. Notably, the fondness of people in eating processed meat including hotdogs and bacon may also increase the risk of this type of cancer.
The risk of non-cardia stomach cancer, tumors that form in the lower part of the stomach, increases by 18 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed each day. This adds up to previous studies linking the consumption of processed meat to colorectal cancer.
Obesity or being overweight may also take a toll on the body. Aside from being at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, people who are overweight may have an increased risk of developing stomach cancer.
There is about 23 percent increased risk of cardia stomach cancer, tumor that forms in the upper part of the stomach near the esophagus, for every five Body Mass Index units.
The team's evidence, as part of its Continuous Update Project, highlights the importance of lifestyle modification through changes in food choices in the prevention of cancers.
"This new evidence gives us a clearer picture. We can now say, for the first time, that drinking alcohol, eating processed meat and being overweight or obese can all increase the risk of developing stomach cancers," explained Dr. Rachel Thompson, Head of Research Interpretation at WCRF.
"These findings will hopefully help people better understand what increases their risk of cancer so that they can make informed decisions about their lifestyles choices," she added.
Stomach cancer accounts for about one million new cancer diagnoses across the globe every year. It's dubbed the fifth most common cancer and third biggest cancer killer.
In the United States, there is an expected 26,370 new diagnoses in 2016 with an estimated 10,730 deaths, the American Cancer Society said. This type of cancer mostly affects older people and the average age when people are diagnosed is 69 years old.
Photo: Kim Ahlström | Flickr