Gastric cancer is one of the main health issues in Lithuania. The risk factors of the disease are related to nutrition and environment. There were no epidemiological studies on this subject in the country. The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between risk of gastric cancer and consumption of salt and salt-preserved food.
Material and methods: A hospital based case-control study included 379 cases with newly histologically confirmed diagnosis of gastric cancer and 1,137 controls that were cancer and gastric diseases free. Cases and controls matched by gender and age (+/-5 years). Ratio of cases and controls was 1:3. A questionnaire was used to collect information on possible risk factors of gastric cancer. The odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for gastric cancer were calculated by a conditional logistic regression.
Results: Cases had significantly lower education level and mostly resided in villages. After adjustments for other dietary habits and smoking, alcohol consumption, family history on cancer, education level, and residence, higher risk of gastric cancer was found for those using salt additionally to prepared meal or those who liked salty food. After controlling for other food items that were associated with gastric cancer and smoking, alcohol consumption, family history on cancer, education level, and residence, body mass index at 20 years of age, and physical activity, intake of salted meat (OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.12-3.04, 1-3 times/month vs. almost never; OR=2.21, 95% CI=1.43-3.42, > or =1-2 times/week vs. almost never), smoked meat (OR=1.79, 95% CI=1.23-2.60, > or =3-4 times/week vs. < or =1-2 times/week), smoked fish (OR=1.70, 95% CI=1.13-2.53, > or =1-2 times/week vs. < or =1-3 times/month) was significantly associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. Consumption of salted mushrooms was found to increase the risk of gastric cancer, however, this increase was not statistically significant. In conclusion, higher risk of gastric cancer is found for people that like salty food, salt-preserved meat as well as fish.