Stomach Cancer -- Causes, Symptoms
and a Diet to Prevent It
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December 10, 2009, last updated June 20, 2014
By Susan Callahan,  Health Editor and Featured Columnist

What are the signs and symptoms of gastric cancer?
According to a 2003 study from the University of Chicago,
your ethnicity and diet play a big role in determining your
risk for developing stomach cancer.

Overall, stomach cancer is the 14th most prevalent cancer
in the U.S. It is the 15th most common cancer in the U.K.
By contrast, in Asian countries, and in particular in South
Korea, stomach cancer is often the second most common
cancer. In fact, South Korea routinely has the highest rate
of stomach cancer in the world.

But even though stomach cancer is the 14th in terms of
cancers diagnosed in the U.S., it is nearly the most deadly.  

Worldwide, stomach cancer is the second most deadly
cancer. Dr. Karen Kim of the University of Chicago believes
that diet plays a big role.

The custom of eating smoked meat and pickled foods are
believed to introduce bacteria which hastens the
development of stomach cancer.

What are the signs of stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is a silent killer. Until its later stages, you
may have no symptoms at all. In its early stages, stomach
cancer mimic simple acid reflux or gastritis, with chronic
burning and discomfort, accompanied by vomiting,
bloating, feeling unusual fatigue and loss of appetite.  In
later stages, you may find
blood in your stool or urine.

Becoming infected by the Helicopter pylori bacterium
dramatically increases your risk for stomach cancer.  This
bacterium lives only in the stomach and is responsible for
gastric ulcers and other stomach ailments.

High Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer

The factors that put you at higher risk for stomach cancer

-suffering from chronic acid reflux or
-drinking too much alcohol
-being male
-eating uncooked food, especially smoked fish
-eating pickled food, such as pickled Asian dishes (Kim-chi)
-having Blood Type A
-being anemic
-being over 35
-having a family history of stomach cancer

-being of Asian descent, especially Korean

Diets That Help Prevent Stomach Cancer

Numerous studies have found that eating meat, especially
red meat, increases your risk for developing stomach
cancer. Also, as we have seen from the University of
Chicago study, eating unrefrigerated smoked fish and
pickled foods increases your risk.

Certain foods, however, have been found to decrease your
risk of stomach cancer. In particular, dark green, leafy
vegetables significantly lower your risk of stomach cancer.
A 2006 study from the National Institute Environmental
Medicine, Division of Nutritional Epidemiology in Stockholm,
Sweden, surveyed the eating habits of 36,664 women and
45,338 women.

The study found that those participants
who ate at least
2.5 servings a day
of dark, green leafy vegetables suffered
the lowest incidence of stomach cancer.  

Interestingly, fruit does not have a similar effect. The
amount and kind of fruit you eat apparently has
no effect
whatsoever on your risk of stomach cancer. (Read more
about the
health benefits of dark, leafy greens.)

Shiitake Mushrooms Can Extend the Survival of Those with
Stomach Cancer

Scientists have discovered that, if you have stomach
cancer, adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet can
dramatically improve your chances of survival.  

Shiitake mushrooms are rich in a substance called lentinan,
which acts to stimulate the immune system and activate
"natural killer cells", according to a 2013 study led by Dr.
Ina Kenji and a team of researchers from the Department
of Oncology, Nagoya Memorial Hospital in Japan.

Lentinan belongs to a class of substances called Beta-
glucans which scientists have long known have anti-cancer
and immune system-promoting properties. Beta-glucans
are a natural part of the cell walls of certain fungi such as
shiitake mushrooms, yeast, bacteria and certain grains such
as oats and barley.

The best way to incorporate lentinan from shiitake
mushrooms if you already have cancer is to obtain it from
youyr doctor to complement your chemotherapy treatment.

If you are trying to lower your risk for stomach cancer, try
adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet more regularly.
Simmer the mushrooms in olive oil, and add them to your

Or, after browning them in olive oil, use them as a filler to
bulk up turkey loaf or turkey or chicken burgers.  Shiitake
mushrooms, in general, make wonderful meat substitutes,
and can help to lower your weight as well as your risk for


Your body’s ability to manage sugar is linked to your risk
for stomach cancer, new research suggests. A 2012 study
led by Drs. Hirakawa and Ninomya from  Kyushu University
in Japan studied glucose tolerance in 2,438 Japanese men
and women for 19 years.  

The study found that people with a fasting blood sugar
level greater than 5.6 mmol/L  (100 mg/dL) or whose
blood sugar levels 2 hours after eating  exceeded 11.1
mmol/L  (200 mg/dL) had a significantly higher risk of
death from stomach cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer.
As the study concluded “prediabetic hyperglycemia and
diabetes are significant risk factors for cancer death in the
general Japanese population”.

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dark green leafy vegetables reduce stomach cancer risk
Dark green, leafy vegetables reduce your stomach cancer risk.
Shiitake mushrooms can extend
the survival rate of those with
stomach cancer.