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Stomach Cancer Facts

The American cancer society estimates nearly 25,000 Americans are diagnosed with stomach cancers each and every year. Some 10,700 people die from the disease annually. Although most typically diagnosed in older people, with diagnosis most common in those age 65 or older, the disease can strike much earlier.

Although relatively rare, it is estimated that there is about a 1 in 111 chance that anyone can develop this disease over the course of their lifetime. There are some risk factors that people should be aware of:
• Gender – The disease is more common in men than women.
• Age – The typical diagnosis age is between the late 60s and 80s.
• Ethnicity – Hispanic, African and Asian Pacific Americans are more commonly diagnosed with stomach cancer than non-Hispanic whites.
While some risk factors for the disease cannot be changed, others are largely controllable. They include:
• Diet – Stomach cancer is more commonly seen in people who have diets rich in smoked foods or those that contain a lot of nitrates. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help on this front.
• Tobacco use – Smoking increases the risk for all forms of cancer in the upper portion of the stomach near the esophagus.
• Obesity – This factor is still out with the jury, but it’s been linked to a variety of cancers. That means keeping weight in check can be helpful.

Routine screening for stomach cancer is not performed in the United States, but screening measures are available for those who are at risk. Symptoms include weight loss, abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and fluid build-up in the abdomen, among others.

People who are concerned about stomach cancer are urged to discuss the topic with their healthcare providers. This disease, if caught early, can be treated with a variety of different measures. Success will, of course, depend on the tumor type and stage. To find out more, consult with a healthcare provider.

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