Eating processed meats, drinking alcohol and being overweight have been “strongly” linked to stomach cancer for the first time.Having three or more alcoholic beverages a day increases the risk of developing the cancer, as does consuming the equivalent of two rashers of bacon on a daily basis, according to a new study.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) also found “strong evidence” that preserved foods such as pickled vegetables or salted fish could make stomach cancer more likely.
About 80% of the 7,000 Britons who are diagnosed with stomach cancer every year only learn they have the illness when it has started to spread around the body.
Stomach cancer leads to approximately 5,000 deaths a year in the UK and doctors generally believe a patient is doing very well if they are still alive two years after being diagnosed at an advanced stage.
It is more common in older adults, and men are twice as likely as women to have stomach cancer in their lifetime.
The WRCF believes there would be 280 fewer cases of stomach cancer a year if people cut down on alcohol, while 710 cases could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight.
Cutting out processed meats such as hot dogs, salami, bacon, ham and pastrami could also save 280 people from stomach cancer annually, the report said.
“These findings will hopefully help people better understand what increases their risk of cancer so that they can make informed decisions about their lifestyle choices,” said Dr Rachel Thompson, the WRCF’s head of research implementation.
The report also found some evidence that eating citrus fruit could decrease the risk of stomach cancer.
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