In Costa Rica a person dies on average every thirteen hours from gastric cancer, this according to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) statistics.

fat_man_stomachWhen compared to other types of cancer, stomach cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the country.

According to the statistics, gastric cancer was the cause of death in 11% of women and 16% of men in 2011. Dr. Horacio Solano, director of the Centre for Gastric Cancer, although the disease has a hereditary propensity, “stomach abuse” by an unhealthy diet is the more common cause.

Most stomach cancer is caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. Dietary factors are not proven causes, but some foods, such as smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables are associated with a higher risk. Nitrates and nitrites in cured meats can be converted by certain bacteria, including H. pylori, into compounds that have been found to cause stomach cancer in animals.

gastric-cancerRecommended is eating fresh fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidant vitamins, such as A and C, that lower the risk of stomach cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower rates of stomach cancer.

Smoking increases the risk of developing gastric cancer significantly. Eating excessive spicy foods also adds to the development of gastric cancer.

Gastric cancer shows a male predominance in its incidence as up to three males are affected for every female. Estrogen may protect women against the development of this cancer form.