Most of us carry the bacterium H pylori, usually without symptoms. If we consume a high salt diet, the salt boosts H pylori's production of a cancer causing protein.
About two-thirds of the world's population is infected with H. pylori. In the United States, H. pylori is found more often in older adults, African Americans, Hispanics and lower socioeconomic groups.
... high dietary salt combined with infection by the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori greatly increases the risk of cancer.
In the study, the researchers infected Mongolian gerbils with H. pylori. One set of gerbils received a regular diet; the other, a high salt diet. At the end of the experiment the researchers analyzed the animals' stomach tissues. Every animal on the high salt diet developed cancer, compared with just 58 percent of those on the regular diet.
It appears development of gastric cancer required the presence of a particular bacterial oncoprotein, known as CagA, which is produced by H. pylori.
... culturing H. pylori in a high salt environment boosts production of CagA.
At least 50 percent of humans are infected with H. pylori, at least 90 percent of them without symptoms. [emphasis mine]
I am going to try to lower my salt intake. Thanks Ruth!