columnBy Dr. Cory Couillard
The American Cancer Society reports a record one million new worldwide cases of stomach cancer and 800,000 deaths per year. Stomach cancer has been found to be the fourth most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death.
It is reported that 1 in 114 men and women are at significant risk of developing stomach cancer at some point in their lives. Stomach cancers are especially prevalent in the African and Hispanic populations.
Lifestyle induced cancers:
The risk factors for stomach cancers are very similar to other lifestyle induced cancers. The leading causative factors include smoking, a poor diet, lack of physical activity and obesity. Proactive lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating a diet rich in vegetables can reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Stomach cancers are known to be more prevalent in men over the age of 50, individuals with type A blood and have a history of a H. Pylori bacterial infections. H. Pylori infections are also known to contribute to stomach ulcers.
Do I have stomach cancer?
Many cancers are actually chronic or long-term in nature. Cancer's complicating factor is that you don't know you have cancer until you have symptoms. Individuals that develop stomach cancer commonly have poor lifestyle choices for decades and do not know that it is silently developing.
The signs and symptoms of stomach cancers are very similar to other gastrointestinal conditions. You could be at risk if you have heartburn, indigestion, nausea or other ulcer-type symptoms. Other concerning symptoms include abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and a sense of fullness.
Any symptom should not be ignored. Symptoms may not indicate cancer but they do indicate that one's body is not functioning properly. Lifestyle factors play a significant role in maintaining and improving how one's body is able to heal and function.
Vitamin D3 prevents cancer
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Like a hormone, it has a huge impact on how genes express or fail to express themselves. In fact, one in every 25 genes in the human body interacts with vitamin D. This means that deficiencies may weaken the genetic infrastructure of our body and place us at risk for diseases such as stomach cancer.
Without vitamin D our immune system is incapable of producing certain antimicrobial substances, leaving our body unable to fight off bacteria, viruses and cancer. A vitamin D deficiency will prevent the body from killing off precancerous cells before they turn into full-fledged cancer.
According to the Vitamin D Council, the human body needs from 3,000 to 5,000 IU daily. Besides preventing cancer, vitamin D is also needed for strong bones and calcium absorption in the body.
Eat cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli is one of the best cancer-fighting foods on the planet. This super-vegetable is loaded with various nutrients that have been found to benefit various cancers including stomach.
Sprouts of broccoli have been found to be the most beneficial. A direct cancer-inhibiting nutrient can be found in greater concentrations in the sprouts than the full mature plants. Cabbage and cauliflower have very similar properties.
Go with your gut. Talk with your healthcare professional if you suspect something is not right. Prevention is the most important technique but few truly value lifestyle interventions until it's too late. Take proactive steps to reduce your risk today.
Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.
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