Pro IQRA News Updates.
WASHINGTON: Some types of cancer are being diagnosed more often in younger adults, a new study shows, and the increases appear to be driven by cancers in women and adults in their 30s.
A government-funded study of 17 National Cancer Institute registries, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, looked at more than 500,000 cases of early-onset cancer, or cancer diagnosed in patients under the age of 50, between 2010 and 2019. The study found that overall increased early-onset cancers during that decade, averaging 0.28% each year.
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The change appeared to be driven by cancer rates in younger women, which increased by an average of 0.67% each year; At the same time, the numbers in men decreased by 0.37% each year.
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There were 34,233 early-onset cancer cases in women in 2010 and 35,721 in 2019, an increase of 4.35%, the study says. Among men, cases decreased by 4.91%, from 21,818 in 2010 to 20,747 in 2019.
The rate of cancer diagnosis increased in adults in their 30s during the decade but remained stable in other age groups under 50, the study found. At the same time, the frequency of cancer in adults aged 50 and over is decreasing.
When the researchers looked at cancer trends for younger adults by race, they found that early-onset cancers increased most rapidly among people who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, Asians and Hispanics. On average, the growth rate of early-onset cancers remained stable among whites and declined among blacks between 2010 and 2019.
Cancers with the highest number of early-onset cases diagnosed in 2019 were breast cancer (12,649 cases), thyroid cancer (5,869) and colorectal cancer (4,097).
The biggest increases in early cases were in cancer of the appendix, which increased by 252%; bile duct cancer, which increased by 142%; and uterine cancer, which increased by 76%.
The incidence rate of gastrointestinal cancer grew the fastest from 2010 to 2019, increasing by nearly 15%. Previous research has shown an increase in cancers of the digestive system, particularly colorectal cancer, among adults younger than 55 since the 1990s.
These increases are not limited to the United States, studies say. A review of cancer registries in 44 countries, published last year, found that the incidence of early-onset cancers is increasing rapidly for 14 types of cancer, many of which affect the digestive system.
The authors of that review said the rise is in part due to more sensitive screening tests as well as other causes that need to be investigated.
Dr. Otis Brawley, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, has a few theories about what’s behind the rising prices.
“The number one cause of cancer in the United States right now is smoking, but the number of smokers [have been] has been declining since the 1960s, he said. “It is in the next few years that the biggest cause of cancer in the United States will not be obesity but obesity, consumption of too many calories and not enough exercise. … My suspicion is that a large part of this trend is lifestyle, or it is driven by increased calorie consumption, increased obesity and too little exercise.”
Another possible cause is alcohol use, he said. “There has been an increase in alcohol-related cancers in recent years. We now believe that approximately 6% of cancers in the United States are due to alcohol consumption, particularly binge drinking.”
To reduce your overall cancer risk, Brawley recommends “very basic principles”: “Try to maintain a healthy weight. Try to exercise. Try to maintain a good diet with five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, preferably fresh fruit. Try to reduce the amount of processed foods in the diet.”