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What are my chances of getting stomach cancer?

Some risk factors for stomach cancer, like age and family history, cannot be prevented, and people who feel they are at risk may benefit from consulting with a risk assessment specialist.

There are specific risk factors that increase the chance of developing stomach cancer. However, most people with risk factors for stomach cancer never develop the disease. These are some risk factors for stomach cancer:

- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori is a bacterial infection that can infect the lining of the stomach, and chronic infection with H. pylori may increase the risk for stomach cancer. The World Health Organization classifies H. pylori as a class I carcinogen. If found by endoscopic biopsy, it should be treated medically.

- Smoking. Smoking, particularly heavy smoking, has been linked to an increased risk of developing stomach cancer.

- Family history. People who have close relatives with a history of stomach cancer, such as Lynch syndrome, Ménétrier disease, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or diffuse hereditary gastric cancer, may be at an increased risk themselves.

- Pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease in which the stomach does not produce enough stomach acid.

- Obesity. People who are obese or overweight may be at an increased risk for cancer in the upper part of the stomach.

- Diet. Studies show people who eat a diet high in salted, smoked or pickled foods and low in vitamins and minerals have an increased risk for stomach cancer.

- Sex. Stomach cancer occurs more often in males than females.

- Race. Black men are more than twice as likely as white men to die from stomach cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.