World Action on Salt & Health

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Children and stomach cancer

Salt intake is closely related to cancer of the stomach [ 28] and is likely to be an important pre-disposing cause. Salt in the concentration found in many processed or instant foods, eg instant soups, soya sauce, is a profound gastric irritant. It is proposed that a high salt intake strips the lining of the stomach and may pre-dispose the individual to H-pylori infection [ 29], both of which are risk factors for stomach cancer. For example, a group of researchers conducted a population-based prospective study in Japan . A total of 18 684 men and 20 381 women aged 40-59 years who reported their dietary habits were followed from 1990 to 2001. In this 11 year time period a total of 486 people (358 men and 128 women), were diagnosed with stomach cancer. Although the trend was not clear in women salt intake was dose-dependently associated with stomach cancer risk in men [ 30].

The findings from studies in adults, showing that a high salt intake is a risk factor for stomach cancer, would suggest that if an individual has a high salt intake early in life and throughout the rest of their life this will predispose the individual to stomach cancer later in life.

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