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Stomach cancer

Gastric cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer death worldwide. The link with dietary salt is not as well substantiated as for cardiovascular disease, but the basis is as follows. High salt concentrations can solubilize the mucus barrier on the stomach wall and this can increase the risk of localized inflammatory responses at erosion sites. This can enhance colonization of Helicobacter pylori which, along with food-derived carcinogens, has been linked to a risk of gastric cancer. Chemical carcinogens, formed during pigmeat processing using nitrate or nitrite, have been implicated in this cascade.

In a prospective study in Japan, there was a dose-related increase in the risk of gastric cancer with the consumption of salt (Tsugane et al., 2004). This confirmed previous retrospective studies linking gastric cancer to salt intake. The association was more pronounced in men than in women.

Activity 1.3

Answer the following questions:

1 What is the average salt intake in your country?

2 What is the recommended salt intake by the health authorities in your country?

3 List the food items which contain high salt levels and are commonly consumed in your country.