Whether it’s counseling a diabetic patient, guiding a patient struggling with obesity, or educating a postoperative patient, most nurses will unanimously agree that they counsel patients regularly on good nutrition and healthy behavior modification. Now more than ever, that role may be vital in counseling patients on certain risks associated with the development of stomach cancers.
Considering there are approximately one million newly diagnosed stomach cancers throughout the world, this is a good place for nurses to educate patients.1
In the report, Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Stomach Cancer
, released by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), and the Continuous Update Project (CUP), there is now a documented link between alcohol, consumption of processed meats, and obesity in the risk for developing stomach cancer.2
Eighty-nine studies of over 17.5 million adults were used to generate the report; of these, there were 77,000 cases of diagnosed stomach cancers.1
Details of these risk factors include the following:1
The risk of stomach cancer is increased with the consumption of three or more alcoholic beverages per day (every day), specifically >1.5 oz of pure alcohol. The risk increased in men and smokers, both past and present.
Consumption of processed meats
The equivalent of consuming one hot dog (1.8 oz/50 gm) of processed meat per day (every day), increased the risk for developing lower stomach cancer (noncardia) by 18%.
Being overweight or obese
There is a 23% increased risk for developing cancers of the upper stomach (cardia) in overweight and obese individuals (per every five unit increase in Body Mass Index).
According to Alice Bender, MS, RDN, Head of Nutrition Programs at AICR, “This report is a real wake-up call. Obesity is now linked to 11 types of cancer and we want Americans to know there are steps everyone can take for cancer prevention and better health, like eating more vegetables, beans, fruits and other plant foods along with squeezing in a few more steps every day.”1
Nurses and nutritionists alike play a vital role in not only patient education, but also community outreach efforts, encouraging risk-reducing behaviors and improved nutrition.
CUP panel lead expert Michael Leitzmann, MD, PhD, of the University of Regensburg reports that, “The findings of this latest evidence report from AICR/WCRF 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.”1
How are you counseling patients on healthy behavior modifications to aid in their cancer risk reduction and overall health improvement?
- American Institute for Cancer Research. (2016). For First Time, Major Scientific Report Links Alcohol, Processed Meat and Obesity to Stomach Cancers.
- American Institute for Cancer Research. (2016). The Prevention of Stomach Cancer.