The American Cancer Society estimates about 26,370 cases of stomach cancer may have been diagnosed in 2016 with 10,730 of these cases resulting in death. This disease generally occurs later in life with the average age at diagnosis being around 69. The average risk of developing stomach cancer is about 1 in 111. Men are more likely to be affected by this disease as compared to women.
While GI cancer is not as prevalent in the United States as compared to other parts of the world, there are several risk factors which would make GI cancer screening beneficial. You are more likely to develop stomach cancer if you:
- Are a man
- Smoke. (Smoking doubles your stomach cancer risk)
- Are over the age of 50
- Are a Hispanic American, African American, Asian American, or a Pacific Islander
- Have had long term infection of the stomach with H. pylori bacteria which can cause precancerous changes in the stomach lining
- Consume excessive amounts of salted and smoked meat, pickled vegetables, nitrites, and nitrates
- Are obese or overweight, which may increase the risk of cancers of the upper part of the stomach
- Have had previous stomach surgery. This is probably because the stomach may make less acid after surgery and there is increased reflux of bile from the intestines into the stomach
- Have type A blood
- Have a family history of stomach cancer
- Work in the coal, metal, or rubber industry
- Have common variable immune deficiency, which means you are not producing enough antibodies in response to infection
GI cancers are slow-developing cancers and hence if diagnosed early, the chances of obtaining complete remission is very good. So, if you fall into any of the above categories, it would be in your best interests to speak with your doctor regarding the likelihood of needing GI cancer screening.
At Greater Houston Gastroenterology, we provide specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our dedicated clinical staff and physician assistants are available to assist in delivering high-quality treatment and expert care. As the largest GI group in the greater Houston area, we offer 17 locations for your convenience.