A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing cancer. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as family history or genetics. Fortunately, many risk factors can be changed.
There are no specific guidelines to prevent stomach cancer because the cause is unknown. There are factors that can be changed to reduce your risk of many cancers. These include:
- Dietary changes —Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, fish, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables are associated with lower rates of stomach cancer. Eating a healthful diet will also help with maintaining a healthy weight.
- Quitting smoking — Smoking negatively affects every cell in the body. Quitting smoking is an important step in preventing cancer. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal. Talk to your doctor about the options available to help you successfully quit.
- Regular exercise —Regular exercise is good for overall health, wellness, and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise (which can be a brisk walk) on most days of the week. If you currently do not exercise, talk to your doctor about how to get started on a program safely.
- Manage health conditions —If you have symptoms associated with a gastric ulcer, talk to your doctor. Most ulcers are caused by a Helicobacter pylori infection. It is easily treated with antibiotics. If you have Barrett's esophagus or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), be sure to follow your treatment plan.
- Drink alcohol in moderation —Moderation is two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less a day for women.
- Aspirin use —Aspirin is associated with lower rates of stomach cancer. Since taking aspirin can have side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding, talk to your doctor before starting any aspirin therapy.
Can stomach cancer be prevented? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/prevention.html. Updated March 15, 2016. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Gastric carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116155/Gastric-carcinoma. Updated September 16, 2016. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 6/26/2017