How Much Alcohol and Processed Meat Does It Take to Up Stomach Cancer Risk?

(HealthDay News) — Alcohol, processed meats – such as hot dogs, ham, and bacon – and excess weight all may raise a person’s risk of stomach cancer, according to a new review released by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Researchers combined and analyzed all scientific data available on stomach cancer, diet, physical activity, and weight. The analysis included 89 studies covering 17.5 million adults, including 77,000 with stomach cancer.

The report suggests that three or more alcoholic drinks per day every day increases risk of stomach cancer. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. For every 1.8 ounces of processed meat eaten every day — the equivalent of one hot dog or two slices of bologna — the risk of stomach non-cardia cancer rises by 18 percent. Every five-unit increase in body mass index causes a 23 percent increased risk of stomach cardia cancer.

The review concludes that in the United States, about one in seven stomach cancer cases could be prevented if people did not drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day, did not eat processed meat, and maintained a healthy weight. “This is the first report to find strong evidence of these links,” Alice Bender, RDN, head of nutrition programs at the American Institute of Cancer Research, told HealthDay. “There are things we can do to lower our risk for cancer. There are choices we make every day that can make a difference.”

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