Colon and Gastric Cancer
PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES FOR GASTROINTESTINAL CANCER
Gastrointestinal cancer refers to malignant conditions of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and accessory organs of digestion, including the oesophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus.
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent gastrointestinal cancer
The risk factors are certain medical conditions, genetic conditions, diet and environmental causes. The protective factors are smoking cessation and treating Helicobacter pylori infection.
The following are risk factors for gastrointestinal cancer
- Helicobacter pylori(H. pylori) infection of the stomach.
- Chronicatrophic gastritis
- Pernicious anemia
- Stomach (gastric) polyps.
Genetic conditions may increase the risk of stomach cancer in people with any of the following:
- A mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
- Type A blood.
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis(FAP).
- Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer(Lynch syndrome).
The risk of stomach cancer may be increased in people who eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables, high in salted or smoked foods and foods that have not been prepared or stored the way they should be.
Environmental factors that may increase the risk of stomach cancer are exposure to radiation and working in the rubber or coal industry.
The following are protective factors that may decrease the risk of stomach cancer:
Studies show that smoking is linked with an increased risk of stomach cancer. Stopping smoking or never smoking decreases the risk of stomach cancer. Smokers who stop smoking lower their risk of having stomach cancer over time.
Treating Helicobacter pylori infection
Studies show that chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. When H. pylori bacteria infects the stomach, the stomach may become inflamed and cause changes in the cells that line the stomach. Over time, these cells become abnormal and may become cancer.
Some studies show that treating H. pylori infection with antibiotics lowers the risk of stomach cancer. One study found that treating H. pylori infection with antibiotics, vitamins, and garlic supplements may also lower the number of deaths from stomach cancer.