A case-control study to evaluate risk factors for gastric cancer was carried out among 292 cases of gastric cancer and 485 controls in a high-risk area of Venezuela. Subjects were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, which elicited information on residential history, socio-economic status, family history of gastric diseases, smoking, drinking and dietary habits. Habitual diet was estimated from a meal-structured food frequency questionnaire on 75 food items. There was a strong inverse association with social class, as measured by education and by indicators of poverty. The results of the dietary analysis suggest that a diet high in starch and low in meat, fish and fresh vegetables increases risk of gastric cancer. A protective effect was observed for frequent consumption of allium vegetables. Inverse associations were found with height, which may reflect nutritional status in childhood, and with refrigerator use in the first two decades of life. Alcohol and tobacco consumption was investigated among males only, since the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco use was very low in females. Alcohol drinkers were at higher risk than non-drinkers and there was a small excess risk for current smokers compared with never smokers. There was some evidence of familial aggregation of gastric cancer. These findings will have important implications in planning preventive strategies for gastric cancer in Venezuela.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.