Side Effects and Relation with Stomach Cancer

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Jammu and Kashmir. The lung, throat, stomach, colon cancer is dominant in males, while cervical, breast, stomach and lung cancer is prominent in females. Stomach and lung cancer remain the two common cancers in both the genders, hence the most potent ones.

Major causes of cancer include tobacco consumption, obesity, viral infection and radiation, lack of physical activity, environmental pollutants, excessive salt intake and genetic factors. Wait, what? Salt intake? We know excess of everything is bad, but how can salt intake lead to cancer?

Salt and Stomach Relation

Actually, high salt intake does lead to stomach cancer. A partly preventable public health problem, stomach cancer remains a global disease. If you Google the causes of stomach cancer, you will find that the major cause of it is high salt intake.  Salt commonly known as sodium chloride has been experimentally identified increasing the risk of cancer.

It acts as an inflammatory agent of the stomach cancer. High salt intake damages the stomach lining-which secretes stomach acid, and causes the chronic inflammation of stomach mucous membrane that eventually leads to the stomach cancer.

Also, in a person who has Helicobacter Pylori infection salt cooperates to parietal cell loss-cells which secrete HCl (Hydrochloric Acid),which if left to develop, can progress into stomach cancer, as salt has been found to increase the growth and action of Helicobacter Pylori ( a Bacterium).This is common in parts of Asia.

Kashmir and Salt Relation

As mentioned earlier, Kashmir remains relatively a high prevalence zone of stomach cancer. Its incidence has been reported to have exceeded 40 per cent of all cancers in Kashmir and it is the 5th most common cancer worldwide.

The foods we consume are primarily responsible for that. Nun Chai is one such food that increases the risk of stomach cancer. They very prefix Nun means salt. It remains the first beverage taken in the morning along with certain breads baked in a traditional bakery, which add to the salt and baking soda consumption on daily basis. Besides, to make it pink in colour, the sodium bicarbonate, which has other side-effects as well, remains an integral part of Nun Chai in Kashmir.

Nun Chai is taken at least twice in a day and the daily consumption ranges from 200 to 250ml. Most people like to take it at high temperature, which makes it more dangerous and it can cause thermal injury to the walls of stomach.


Reducing the salt intake may reduce Helicobacter Pylori infection and therefore reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

World Cancer Research Fund recommends that people avoid salt preserved foods like meat and fish and keep the level of salt intake below 5 g/day-a level advised by WHO.