Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancer forms in the world. Until relatively recently this was also true for Sweden and most of the richer countries in the world. But since around  1960 the disease frequency has diminished in Sweden. Despite this, almost 1000 people die from the disease in Sweden every year.


In the early stages of stomach cancer there are usually no obvious symptom. Rather, the symptoms are diffuse, and very similar to less severe, and very much more common, diseases such as dyspepsia and stomach ulcers.

If a person has any of the so called alarm symptoms there is a certain risk that the person suffers from stomach cancer, and he/she should therefore contact a doctor. Among the alarm symptoms are: sudden weight loss, bleeding, reluctancy to eat, swollen abdomen, nausea and vomiting.

For more detailed information, see

Causes of disease

Stomach cancer is caused by gene changes (mutations) in the stomach that cause certain cells in the stomach lining to divide and increase dramatically in number without beeing kept in check by the normal cell physiology mechanisms that regulate cell growth. For a cell in the stomach lining to become a cancer cell several different gene changes of this cell are required. Because several genes need to be affected, it is relatively uncommon that stomach cancer affects younger persons.

There are som factors that we know can increase the risk of stomach cancer development, and the factors with strongest influence are smoking and infection with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

Is it possible to reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer?

As with most cancer diseases it is not possible to completely cancel the risk to develop stomach cancer. There is just one certain way by which oneself can relatively easily reduce the risk of disease, and that is to avoid smoking.

Knowledge is not certain, but perhaps the risk can also be reduced by eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and by avoiding heavily salted foods.