Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So How Exactly Does Smoking Cause Stomach Cancer

How Does Smoking Cause Stomach Cancer?

The Facts

A reported 22,400 cases of stomach cancer occurred in the United States in 2003. Of these, 12,100 resulted in death. Smoking-related stomach cancer cases occurred in 28 percent of men, and 14 percent of women.

Stomach cancer is most commonly associated with the growth of a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori is a corkscrew-shaped organism that becomes embedded in the protective mucous layer coating that lines the stomach. This bacteria, once matured, develops into a chronic infection that in many cases gives rise to ulcers.


Often times, the first indication of stomach cancer can be heartburn symptoms that become progressively worse over time. In smokers, nicotine is known to weaken the esophageal valve which is responsible for keeping acids produced in the stomach from flowing back into the esophagus. Acid reflux syndrome is a result of this valve not working properly.

Nicotine is also known to displace bile salts from the small intestine into the stomach. This occurrence causes damage to the stomach lining, and further weakens the organ's ability to extract carcinogenic toxins from the stomach area.


Smokers who experience ulcer-type symptoms run a high risk of developing open sores in the stomach lining. This is called a peptic ulcer. The ongoing presence of nicotine in the system increases the likelihood of death in cases where peptic ulcers are present (Surgeon General report, 1989).

Persistent feelings of discomfort in the upper-middle abdominal area may warrant a doctor's visit, and particularly if weight loss and feelings of fatigue are present. Other symptoms to pay attention to are vomiting after meals, and unusually dark stools. The presence of blood in vomit, or stools is another indicator.

Time Frame

As heartburn, and varied digestive symptoms are seldom seen as fatal, early detection of stomach cancer is a rarity. Reports show that on average only 18 percent of individuals diagnosed with stomach cancer survive past 5 years from date of diagnosis.

It's always best to consult a physician when symptoms persist, or become more intense.

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