Gastric cancer, also known as stomach cancer, is a silent killer as symptoms often only appear at a late stage.
In Singapore, gastric cancer is the 7th and 9th most common cancer among men and women respectively*.

What is Gastric Cancer? 
Gastric cancer is cancer that starts anywhere inside the stomach or the stomach wall. It usually occurs when cells in the inner layer of the stomach wall grow and divide without stopping. Over time, these cells will form lumps called tumours and the cancer may invade more deeply into the stomach wall.

What Causes Gastric Cancer? 
Lifestyle factors are linked to 3 out of 4 gastric cancers. While the exact cause of stomach cancer remains unknown, there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing gastric cancer. This includes:

  • A diet high in salt or salt-preserved food
  • A diet high in processed meat like ham, bacon, and sausages
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Infection with Helicobacter Plyori (H. plyori), a bacterium that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach
  • Chronic gastritis, which refers to a long-term inflammation of stomach
  • A family history of gastric cancer
  • Smoking, Alcoholic drinks

Can Gastric Cancer Go Undetected? 
Very often no symptoms appear until the cancer is in the advanced stage. If the cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable.

*Source: Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2018: Singapore Cancer Registry 50th Anniversary Monograph 1968-2017)

Tips On Reducing Your Salt Intake

Watch what you eat and what you add to your food. It could protect you and your family against Gastric Cancer.

GCAM2021 food 1


  • Opt for fresh foods instead of canned products. For example, fresh meat instead of ham, sausages, or luncheon meat
  • Consume less of salt-preserved food such as salted fish, salted egg, pickled vegetables, olives, canned chye sum, olives, or fermented tofu etc.
  • Choose food in their natural form like nuts and seeds which contain less sodium
GCAM2021 food 2


  • Use fresh ingredients in your home-cooked meals.
  • Swap the salt, sauces and seasoning powders with natural herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, fresh mint, nutmeg, chilli padi, turmeric saffron, curry leaves, coriander, parsley, rosemary and paprika.
GCAM2021 food 3


  • Go easy on the gravies, sauces, and soups rich in salt
  • Avoid adding more salt or sauces to your food
  • Consume less fast food such as burgers, fries and pizza which are foods high in sodium.