LIFESTYLE

Bacon, Booze And Obesity 'Strongly' Linked To Stomach Cancer In New Study

But eating citrus fruit could help decrease your risk.

21/04/2016 10:13

If you follow up your boozy Friday night outing with a bacon sandwich (or two), listen up.

A new study has linked drinking alcohol, eating processed meat and being overweight to stomach cancer for the first time. 

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said there was "strong evidence" that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a day or eating the equivalent of 50g per day of processed meat (that's two rashers of bacon) could lead to stomach cancer.

Being obese or overweight also increased the risk.

But it isn't all doom and gloom, as researchers believe eating citrus fruits may decrease a person's risk of stomach cancer. 

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Processed meat has already been linked to bowel cancer, while being overweight or obese has been linked to 10 different types of cancer.

"Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives," reads the report.

"Examples include ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages."

Scientists said that consuming foods preserved by salting (such as pickled vegetables) also increased the risk of stomach cancer. Additionally there was "some evidence" that consuming grilled or barbecued meat and fish increased the risk.

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Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the WCRF, said: "This new evidence gives us a clearer picture.

"We can now say, for the first time, that drinking alcohol, eating processed meat and being overweight or obese can all increase the risk of developing stomach cancers.

"These findings will hopefully help people better understand what increases their risk of cancer so that they can make informed decisions about their lifestyles choices."

Around 7,000 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer each year in the UK.

The initial symptoms are vague and easy to mistake for other less serious conditions, according to the NHS.

Symptoms include: persistent indigestion and heartburn, trapped wind and frequent burping, feeling very full or bloated after meals and persistent stomach pain.

Experts believe more than 1,200 cases of stomach cancer in the UK could be prevented each year if people did not drink three alcoholic drinks per day, cut out processed meat and maintained a healthy weight.

Story continues below...

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

Co-author Professor Michael Leitzmann, from the University of Regensburg in Germany, said: "The findings of this latest evidence report...are groundbreaking and show there is strong evidence linking the risk of developing stomach cancers to a number of different lifestyle factors, such as drinking alcohol and eating processed meat.

"The evidence from this current report will help the public and the health community better understand what can influence the risk of developing stomach cancers.

"It is an invaluable contribution to the growing evidence that exists on cancer prevention."

Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at Public Health England, said: "We know that being obese and drinking alcohol both increase your risk of certain cancers.

"This is why it's important to keep an eye on portion sizes, cut down on sugar and fat in the diet, drink less alcohol and be regularly active.

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