Nobody likes to think about cancer, but the truth is, all of us are susceptible to this deadly disease. Cancer comes in many forms, affecting many different organs of the body, and various habits and factors can influence your cancer risk in different ways. For example, smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of lung cancer, while prolonged exposure to the sun without sunscreen can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Let’s look specifically at stomach cancer. Is there a way you can reduce your risk of getting this type of cancer?
The Many Types of Stomach Cancer
Adenocarcinomas is the most common form of stomach cancer, representing between 90 and 95 percent of all cases. According to MesotheliomaGuide.com, there are also rarer forms of stomach cancer, like peritoneal mesothelioma, which almost exclusively emerges as a result of ingestion of asbestos fibers.
Because there are so many different types of stomach cancer, and they can affect people in so many different ways, it’s difficult to come to universally applicable conclusions. Still, we are aware of risks that can largely be avoided.
The Short Answer: No, Not Perfectly
The short answer is no, there’s no way to perfectly prevent stomach cancer. In fact, for certain people, genetic factors and other risk factors may make stomach cancer completely unavoidable. However, there are many risk factors that we do understand, and there are many lifestyle habits that can meaningfully reduce your risk of cancer, and following these best practices can put you in a much better position in terms of long-term health.
How to Minimize Your Stomach Cancer Risk
These are some of the best strategies to minimize your risk of stomach cancer.
· Avoid known carcinogens. There are many different carcinogenic substances that are capable of increasing your risk of cancer; if and when you recognize these substances, avoid them. For example, peritoneal mesothelioma is known to be caused by exposure to asbestos; while this substance is no longer popularly used, you may still encounter it in older buildings, so avoid it at all costs.
· Maintain a healthy weight. As is the case with many other types of cancer, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk. Being obese or overweight is linked to a wide variety of negative health complications, including an increased risk of developing this disease. Thankfully, you can maintain a healthy weight by reducing your caloric intake, eating a wide variety of healthy foods, and exercising regularly.
· Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables could reduce your cancer risk. There are a few different possible explanations for this. For example, many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which bind to and eliminate free radicals in your body; free radicals can cause cellular damage that leads to cancerous mutations. Fruits and vegetables also supply your body with abundant and diverse nutrients, allowing you to stay in better overall health.
· Limit red meat intake. Eating red meat can increase your risk of stomach cancer and other digestive cancers. This is a small risk increase, so you don’t need to cut red meat out of your diet entirely, but you should eat it only in moderation.
· Get plenty of exercise. Physical exercise is a great way to stay in shape, reduce your cancer risk, and promote better health outcomes in many different areas. Ideally, you’ll be able to work out with moderate intensity every day. If you can’t do this, try to exercise with moderate intensity at least a few times a week or get more incidental exercise like walking.
· Eliminate smoking. Most people understand that smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of lung cancer and lung disease, but it can also increase your risk of other types of cancers. This is because cigarettes contain many carcinogenic compounds, and smoking itself is generally unhealthy.
· Eliminate or reduce alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol intake is also linked to stomach cancer. Having an occasional alcoholic beverage isn’t going to dramatically increase your stomach cancer risk, but for many people, reducing alcohol intake is a good idea.
· Drink more green tea. Studies have not conclusively proven that drinking green tea reduces cancer risk, but there is some promising evidence that this is the case. Because drinking green tea isn’t risky and is inexpensive, you might as well work it into your rotation.
· Get a genetic test. Depending on your family history, it may be valuable to get a genetic test. If you’re genetically predisposed to developing stomach cancer, you should get regular screenings.
Keep in mind that following these strategies is never going to guarantee that you won’t get cancer. No matter how healthy you are, or how much you focus on reducing your cancer risk, it’s still a good idea to have preventative screenings and visit your doctor regularly to maximize your chances of catching stomach cancer early.