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Johns Hopkins Medicine answeredWorldwide, more than half a million deaths result from stomach cancer, which is much more common in Asia and Latin America than in the United States. Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) can develop in any part of the stomach. It begins in the inner lining and can spread throughout the stomach, penetrate the wall and progress to the adjacent lymph nodes, as well as other organs. The exact cause is unknown but has been associated with dietary factors, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, smoking and alcohol consumption. Current research on the molecular genetics of stomach cancer points toward prevention and early detection of the disease as the best way to reduce the mortality rate. At present in the United States, of all patients with stomach cancer, only about 20-25 percent are cured.