A risk factor is any factor that is associated with an increased chance of developing a particular health condition, such as stomach cancer. There are different types of risk factors, some of which can be modified and some that cannot.
It should be noted that having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will develop stomach cancer. Many people have at least one risk factor but will never develop stomach cancer, while others with stomach cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with stomach cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease.
Although the causes of stomach cancer are not fully understood, there are a number of factors associated with the risk of developing the disease. These factors include:
- having one of a number of chronic stomach conditions, such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, chronic gastritis and gastric polyps
- a diet high in salty and smoked foods, and low in fruit and vegetables
- increasing age
- tobacco smoking
- a family history of stomach cancer.
If you have any of these risk factors or are concerned about your risk for stomach cancer, please see your doctor.