Diet, nutrition, body weight, and physical activity
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for some types of stomach cancer, so achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may lower it.
Regular physical activity may also help reduce your risk of stomach cancer.
Aside from the possible effects on stomach cancer risk, maintaining a healthy weight and being active can also have an effect on the risk of other cancers and health problems.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables probably also reduces the risk of stomach cancer. Citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits) can be especially helpful, but grapefruit and grapefruit juice can change the blood levels of certain medications you take, so it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare team before add grapefruit to your diet. .
The American Cancer Society recommends that people follow a healthy eating pattern, including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and avoid or limit red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and highly processed foods.
Drinking alcohol likely increases your risk of stomach cancer, so avoiding or limiting alcohol may lower your risk.
For more information on diet, body weight, physical activity, and alcohol consumption, see the American Cancer Society Guide to Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.
Studies that have looked at the use of dietary supplements to reduce stomach cancer risk so far have had mixed results. Some studies have suggested that antioxidant supplement combinations (vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral selenium) might reduce the risk of stomach cancer in people with poor nutrition to begin with. But most studies in people with good nutrition have found no benefit from adding vitamin pills to their diet. More research is needed in this area.
Although some small studies suggested that drinking tea, particularly green tea, may help protect against stomach cancer, most large studies have found no such link.
Treatment of H. pylori infection
It is not yet clear whether people whose stomach linings are chronically infected with H pylori bacteria but do not have any symptoms should be treated with antibiotics. This is a current research topic. Some preliminary studies have suggested that giving antibiotics to people with H. pylori infection could reduce the number of precancerous lesions in the stomach and reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer. But not all studies have found this. More research is needed to make sure this is a way to prevent stomach cancer in people with H. pylori infection.
If your doctor thinks you might have an H. pylori infection, there are several ways to test:
The simplest way is a blood test that looks for antibodies to H. pylori. Antibodies are proteins that the body’s immune system makes in response to infection. A positive H pylori antibody test result may mean that you are infected with H pylori or that you had an infection in the past that is now gone.
Another method is to have an endoscopy procedure (see Tests for Stomach Cancer) to take a biopsy sample of the stomach lining. This sample can be used for chemical tests for these types of bacteria. Doctors can also identify H. pylori in biopsy samples viewed under a microscope. The biopsy sample can also be cultured (placed in a substance that promotes bacterial growth) to see if H. pylori grows out of the sample.