Stomach cancer usually develops without a known underlying cause, but in some cases, it’s linked to certain genes passed through families.
Stomach cancer makes up about
Research estimates that
In this article, we take a look at types of stomach cancer caused by inherited genes, stomach cancer risk factors, and prevention strategies.
A family cancer syndrome is a higher than normal risk of developing cancer due to certain genes passed from your parents.
Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
According to a
Men with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer have up to a
If one of your parents has hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, you have a
Other family cancer syndromes
Gene mutations have also been linked to other family cancer syndromes that increase your risk of stomach cancer.
Variants of the following genes are
|Gene||Syndrome||Risk of developing stomach cancer||Other cancers at increased risk|
|CDH1||hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome||up to 70%||lobular breast cancer|
|STK11||Peutz-Jeghers syndrome||up to 29%||• gastrointestinal (GI) cancer|
• pancreatic cancer
• breast cancer
|SMAD4||juvenile polyposis||up to 21%||GI cancer|
|APC promoter 1B||gastric adenocarcinoma and proximal polyposis of the stomach||GI cancer in some families|
|MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2||Lynch syndrome||1%–13%||• GI cancer|
• ovarian cancer
• uterine cancer
• urinary tract cancer
|APC||familial adenomatous polyposis||less than 1%||GI cancer, thyroid cancer|
|TP53||Li-Fraumeni syndrome||1%–4%||• breast cancer|
• brain cancer
• lung cancer
• adrenal cortical cancer
When the cause of stomach cancer isn’t known, the cancer is referred to as “sporadic cancer.” Most stomach cancers are sporadic.
The four most common types of stomach cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma: About
90% to 95%of stomach cancers are classified as adenocarcinoma. Most of these cancers aren’t linked to a family history, except for cancers caused by family cancer syndromes.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) stromal tumors: GI stromal tumors usually have
no clear cause. In rare cases, they’ve been found in several members of the same family.
- Neuroendocrine tumors: The vast majority of neuroendocrine tumors in the GI tract are not hereditary. About 10% of GI tract neuroendocrine tumors are associated with a hereditary syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1.
- Lymphomas: The two most common types of lymphoma that develop in your stomach are called mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue gastric lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Neither type has been linked to family history.
|Risk factor||Percentage your risk is increased by|
|H. pylori infection||280%–480%|
|moderate or high salt intake||41%–68%|
|heavy alcohol intake||20%–65%|
|type A blood||11%–21%|
Other risk factors that
- increasing age
- ethnicity, with the highest risk in:
- Hispanic Americans
- African Americans
- Native Americans
- Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
- geography, with stomach cancer being most common in:
- East Asia
- Eastern Europe
- South and Central America
- overweight or obesity
- a diet high in preserved foods
- a diet low in fruits or vegetables
- previous stomach surgery
- some types of stomach polyps
- pernicious anemia
- Ménétrier disease, a condition characterized by the overgrowth of the mucous membranes inside your stomach
You can’t always prevent stomach cancer, but there are many habits you can adopt to minimize your risk. Habits that might help include:
- avoiding smoking or quitting if you do smoke
- getting regular exercise
- getting to and maintaining a moderate weight
- eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- avoiding or minimizing alcohol (the highest risk seems to be in people who consume more than
three alcoholic drinksper day)
- treating H. pylori infection
Most cases of stomach cancer are not linked to family history. Less than 3% of stomach cancers are thought to be directly linked to genes inherited from your parents, and less than 10% of stomach cancers seem to cluster in families.
Some top risk factors for stomach cancer include H. pylori infection, being male, and smoking.
Avoiding smoking, maintaining a moderate body weight, and eating a nutritious, balanced diet are among the ways you can minimize your risk of developing stomach cancer.