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Cancer cases among those under 50 are exploding

Cancer cases among those under 50 are exploding

Are we facing an accelerating global pandemic? The number of people under 50 diagnosed with cancer has risen 80% worldwide over the past three decades, according to a large study published Wednesday, September 6 by British Journal BMJ Oncology.

Previous research had already indicated increasingly frequent diagnoses of cancer among those under the age of 50. A previous study was published in September 2022 in the journal Nature reviews of clinical oncology Thus, he observed that the incidence of 14 types of cancer increased significantly in these age groups between 2000 and 2012. BMJ Oncology It appears that this trend is not reversing, but rather the opposite.

Some types of cancer grow faster

To reach this conclusion, the researchers used data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study, in which they analyzed the rates of 29 different cancers in 204 countries. It appears that just over a million people under the age of 50 died from cancer that year (+28% compared to 1990). The most dangerous types of cancer were those affecting the breast, trachea, lung, intestine, and stomach.

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If breast cancer is the most diagnosed over the past three decades, the cancers that have increased most rapidly are nasopharyngeal and prostate cancers. A large number of other cancers associated with the digestive system are also often included.

The reason for this rapid growth “remains unclear.”

According to experts, part of this increase can be explained by population growth. But not only. The development of screening has certainly contributed to this increase, but also weakly, as this explosion in cases is also seen in countries that do not have a screening programme.

Therefore, lifestyle remains a risk factor: in addition to poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity can also contribute to this trend, according to the study. Genetic factors can also contribute to this trend, as can environmental factors. Researchers acknowledge that this causes cancer to grow early ‘still not clear’.

And it’s not over…

The number of cancer cases worldwide among those under 50 is expected to rise by another 31% by 2030, especially among people aged 40 to 49, according to modeling conducted by the researchers. However, they note that cancer data from different countries vary widely, with developing countries likely to under-report incidence and mortality.