Certain types of cancer, such as prostate or colon cancer, have long been thought to be unique to older adults. However, In recent years, this preconception has had to change and adapt to new contexts: Cancer is appearing in younger and younger people. This is confirmed by a new study, which found that the number of people under 50 diagnosed with these diseases globally has increased by almost 80% in 30 years.
The scientific journal said the research, published in BMJ Oncology, “changes common perceptions about the types of cancer that typically affect people under the age of 50”. Global cases of early-onset cancer ‘diagnosed in people under 50’ From 1.82 million in 1990 to 3.26 million in 2019, The number of adults in their 40s dying from the disease has increased by 27% in 30 years. That means more than a million people die from this cause each year before the age of five.
Other results of the study were the highest number of breast cancer cases (13.7) and related deaths (3.5) per 100,000 inhabitants. after this, The greatest number of deaths occur in the trachea, lungs, stomach and intestines. The largest increase in deaths was among patients with kidney or ovarian cancer. At the other extreme, liver cancer cases before the age of 50 decrease by about 2.88% per year.
Regarding geographic areas of growth, the highest rates of early-onset cancer in 2019 were North America, Oceania and Western Europe, The highest death rates for people under 50 are in Oceania, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Furthermore, early-onset cancer affects women much more than men in low- and middle-income countries.
Based on trends over the past 30 years, study authors estimate the global number of new cases of early-onset cancer and related deaths By 2030, they will increase by 31% and 21% respectively. People over 40 are reportedly most at risk guardian.
Are cases increasing or are more cases being detected?
Addressing a recurring issue in such studies, Dario Niewiadomski, an oncologist and member of the Argentine Cancer Society, explained to Infobae: “It is true that tumors are detected at an earlier age. But There are several reasons for the higher incidence of cancer in people under 50 years of age.”. In addition to genetics, other factors that explain this increase include: increased life expectancy; an increase in the population of the planet; and increased awareness of the need to undergo medical screening.
What’s new in the studio?
Other previous studies have reported higher cancer rates in adults under 50 around the world. But this study, led by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China is a pioneer in measuring this issue globallyas the previous focus was on regional and national differences.
To arrive at the results, scientists analyzed data from 204 countries on 29 types of cancer in people aged 14 to 49 years. To do this, they relied on data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study.
What is the reason for the increase in cancer cases?
Researchers say genetic factors may play an important role.But, that A diet high in red meat and salt and low in fruit and dairy products, as well as alcohol consumption, smoking, physical inactivity, excess weight, and high sugar levels They added that levels in the blood were the main factor driving this increase.
On the other hand, as Professor Stephen Duffy of the Center for Prevention, Detection and Diagnostics at Queen Mary University of London points out, when Financial TimesIn the case of liver cancer, most are caused by the hepatitis B virus, for which there is an effective vaccine.
What do these findings mean for us today?
Dr Claire Knight from Cancer Research UK tells us guardian It’s unclear what’s driving the trend, so he urged caution. “As worrying as it may seem, cancer is primarily a disease of older people, with the majority of new cancer cases worldwide being diagnosed in people aged 50 and over,” he said, adding: “We need more research to examine the causes of early-onset cancer Target specific cancer types. “But if people are concerned about their risk of cancer, there are many ways to help reduce the risk, such as not smoking, eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise and protecting yourself from the sun.”
This content was originally published on RED/ACCION and is republished as part of the News for Humanity initiative, a premium journalism alliance between RÍO NEGRO and RED/ACCION