Preventing Stomach Cancer: Understanding the Role of Helicobacter Pylori and Other Risk Factors

2023-12-24 05:39:02

Helicobacter pylori is a carcinogen… It causes pre-stage stomach cancer.

Entered 2023.12.24 14:38 Views 445 Entered 2023.12.24 14:38 Modified 2023.12.24 10:48 Views 445 When eating, be careful regarding sharing side dishes and stews to prevent Helicobacter pylori infection. [사진=게티이미지뱅크]

Stomach cancer, which was the most common cancer in Korea for a long time, is not decreasing. Even though there is a lot of health information telling people to be careful of salty and burnt foods, the number of patients is not decreasing significantly. More than 26,000 new patients with stomach cancer appear every year. Even in 2020, when screenings were reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 26,662 patients occurred (national cancer registration statistics). Let’s learn regarding the factors that increase the incidence of stomach cancer.

Two family members with stomach cancer… Eating habits have a big impact

Causes of stomach cancer include Helicobacter pylori infection, long-term consumption of salty or burnt foods, and smoking. In particular, the reason why two or more people in a family have stomach cancer is due to genetics, but the biggest influence is due to eating habits. Things have improved a lot now, but in the past, there was a culture where each family member stirred one side dish with their own chopsticks and ate stew with their own spoon. If someone is infected with Helicobacter pylori outside, they can easily spread it to their family members.

Helicobacter pylori is a carcinogen… Causes pre-stage stomach cancer

Helicobacter pylori causes inflammation in the stomach and progresses to pre-stage diseases such as atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, and dysplasia, leading to genetic mutations. People infected with Helicobacter pylori have a risk of stomach cancer that is three times higher than those who are not infected (data from the National Cancer Information Center). The World Health Organization (WHO) classified Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that survives even in strong stomach acid, as a carcinogen that causes stomach cancer.

Why does cigarette smoke cause stomach cancer?

Smokers have a 2.5 times higher risk of developing stomach cancer than non-smokers (data from the National Cancer Information Center). In particular, if you smoke while drinking, the carcinogens in the cigarette are easily absorbed into the stomach wall as the stomach mucosa is weakened by alcohol. Smoking right following waking up in the morning is also dangerous because the stomach mucosa is weakened during sleep. Breathing in the smoke from someone else’s cigarette is even worse. This is because there are more carcinogens in unfiltered smoke.

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Let’s change our family’s diet… Stomach cancer symptoms and prevention methods?

Frequent consumption of salt-pickled foods damages the stomach lining, increasing the risk of stomach cancer. Burnt foods and processed meats (ham, sausage, etc.) are also bad for stomach health. Stomach cancer has almost no symptoms in the early stages. There are indigestion and heartburn, but they are easy to overlook. If it progresses significantly, weight loss, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal bleeding may occur. People over the age of 40 can undergo national gastroscopy (health insurance subscribers) every two years, which is of great help in early detection.

Even when eating outside, you should be careful regarding sharing side dishes and stews to prevent Helicobacter pylori infection. Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants are also helpful in preventing stomach cancer. In particular, lilies, vegetables (green onions, garlic, onions, etc.), and fresh fruits are effective. If stomach cancer is discovered late, the risk of death is very high. You should avoid risk factors and pay close attention to regular checkups if you have a family history.

Reporter Kim Yong

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