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Alcohol, processed meat may increase stomach cancer risk

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London: Consuming processed meat and drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day may increase the risk of stomach cancer, according to new report that analysed 89 studies from around the world.

Stomach cancer – also known as gastric cancer – is the fifth most common cancer worldwide.

Men are twice as likely as women to develop the cancer, and it is more common in older adults, the report by World Cancer Research Federation said.

Stomach cancer is classified into different types according to location of the tumour – stomach cardia cancer occurs at the top part of the stomach closest to the oesophagus, and stomach non-cardia cancer occurs in all other areas of the stomach.

The report analysed 89 studies from around the world, comprising 17.5 million adults and nearly 77,000 cases of stomach cancer.

Strong evidence was found that consuming approximately three or more alcoholic drinks per day increases the risk of stomach cancer. It was also found that consuming foods preserved by salting increases the risk of stomach cancer.

According to the report, consuming processed meat increases the risk of stomach non-cardia cancer. Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives.

Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages.

Stomach cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer, as symptoms often only appear at a late stage, which contributes to a poor prognosis.

About 70 per cent of cases of stomach cancer occur in less developed countries with about half of all cases in Eastern Asia, particularly China, the report said.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of stomach cardia cancer. There is some evidence that suggests consuming grilled or barbecued meat and fish increases the risk of stomach cancer, and consuming citrus fruit decreases the risk of stomach cardia cancer, the report said.

PTI

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