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IPFS News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

Salting your food increases your risk of stomach cancer by 41%

•, By Paul McClure

Worldwide, stomach cancer rounds out the top five most commonly diagnosed cancers. While incidence rates are highest in Eastern Asia, there's been an alarming rise in the incidence of stomach cancer among people under 50 in both high- and low-risk countries, including the US, Canada and the UK.

While salt intake has been linked to dementia and the risk of type 2 diabetes, the jury's still out on how it contributes to stomach cancer risk. Some studies suggest that high amounts of dietary salt disrupt the stomach lining, making it more susceptible to colonization by H. pylori bacteria, a well-known risk factor; others indicate a positive association between stomach cancer and the amount of salt consumed, independent of H. pylori infection.

There have only been a few studies examining the association between salt intake and gastric cancer, and the majority of those have focused on Asian populations. In a new study, researchers at the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna) looked at whether there was a link between adding salt to food at the table and the risk of stomach cancer in UK adults.

The researchers obtained data from the UK Biobank, a large population-based study of UK adults, for 471,144 individuals. The mean age of participants was 56, and 53.9% were female. Participants were asked, "Do you add salt to your food? (Do not include salt used in cooked)" and could answer "never/rarely," "sometimes," "usually," "always," and "prefer not to answer." The researchers also collected data on participants' stomach cancer status, H. pylori infection status, and whether they had co-existing medical conditions.

Over almost 11 years of follow-up data, there were 640 cases of stomach cancer. Taking into account demographic, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors as well as co-existing conditions, participants who reported always adding salt to food at the table had a 41% increased risk of developing stomach cancer than those who never/rarely did.

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