Expert view: Stomach Cancer

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Feb 14, 2014



Embracing a healthy lifestyle and a proper diet will not only add a spring to your step but also keep you away from dreaded diseased like Cancer, whose incidence is rising in India - as people adopt a more sedentary life and increasingly take to alcohol and smoking as stress-busters. Dr Jaffer Ajani, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, University of Texas, recently visited Artemis Hospital and examined several patients - along with a team of local experts, which included Dr Rakesh Chopra, Oncologist. Speaking to Friday Gurgaon, Dr Jaffer was of the opinion that the early screening of the disease was crucial, because once Cancer reaches an advanced stage it is very difficult to contain. “The people who have had Cancer cases in the family or have a high risk of Stomach Cancer, should get themselves screened regularly”, he said. The major cause of Stomach Cancer, across the world, is heavy smoking and a high salt and spice diet, he added, “Unfortunately, the smoking habit is widespread in rural areas also. People must avoid the use of tobacco and also consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, to help contain Stomach Cancer risks.”

Dr Rakesh Chopra, a senior Oncologist and an expert, further said that being overweight could also increase the chance of Esophagus Cancer; and combined with smoking, the risk multiplies. Chronic alcohol consumption could also lead to esophageal squamous cell Cancers, especially if a person has a high-fat low-fruit diet. Cancer experts at the Hospital believe that it would be difficult to launch a screening programme in India; they rather feel that people having a history of Stomach Cancer in the family should come forward and get themselves checked regularly. Dr Chopra said that their Hospital has all the facilities to detect and treat Stomach Cancer, and people from across the State have been coming to them for treatment. 


The primary Risk factors for Stomach Cancer are:

  • Being Infected with a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), which is associated with gastric and duodenal ulcers, as well as with chronic dyspepsia (indigestion) 
  • Family history of Stomach Cancer
  • Pernicious Anemia. It is an Autoimmune disease, in which the stomach does not produce the protein necessary for Vitamin B-12 absorption
  • Genetic factors. People with Type A blood are probably at an increased risk.
  • Growing up in a poor socio-economic environment
  • Diets heavy in salt and smoked foods, or low in fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking, and tobacco use



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