About 7,000 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer each year in the UK. Around half of stomach cancers develop in people aged 75 and over. Men are nearly twice as likely to get the disease compared to women. The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, about 95%. The cancer starts in the glandular cells of the stomach lining. Lifestyle factors are linked to three out of four stomach cancers.
The causes of stomach cancer are unknown but there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing it, such as:
- Diet – a diet that is high in salt and processed meat and not enough vegetables and fruits (we should aim for five portions per day and no more than 6g of salt).
- Around 1 in 5 stomach cancers in the UK is linked to smoking.
- Being overweight or obese.
- The bacteria, helicobacter pylori, which causes an infection that can lead to more serious conditions such as ulcers and cancer – about four out of ten people in the UK who have this infection don’t develop stomach cancer.
Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the type of cancer you have and what stage it is at. Treatment can range from surgery through to chemo and/or radiotherapy. If you are diagnosed your doctors will work with you to find the best treatment for you and the type and stage of stomach cancer you have.