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stomach cancerWhat is Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)?

The stomach like the rest of the body is made up of billions of little units called cells. The cells have a specific function and they divide in an orderly manner. However, when these cells lose control of their division, a mass of tissue called a tumour is formed. Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach.

Stomach Cancer is the 7th most common cancer in men and the 9th most common cancer in women in our local population. Every year stomach cancer takes more than 300 lives in Singapore*. If the cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable. However, more than two-thirds of stomach cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage III or IV.

* Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015


Risk Factors

While the exact causes of stomach cancer remain unknown, factors that may increase the risk of stomach cancer include:

  • Chronic infection with Helicobacter Pylori, a bacterium that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach.
  • Dietary factors
    • Diet high in smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled foods
    • Diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Those with a history of chronic gastritis, which refers to a long-term inflammation of stomach
  • Those with a family history of cancer of the stomach
  • Tobacco smoking