Alcohol and junk food led to alarming surge in cancers in young people

Logo The IndependentThe Independent
2023-09-06 04:08:45  • 4 mins

Drinking alcohol, smoking and obesity have contributed to a huge surge in the number of cancer cases in younger people, new research suggests.

Recorded cases of cancer in under 50s between 1999 and 2019 soared by 79 per cent, according to scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China.

Factors driving the rise included diets high in red meat and sodium, but alcohol consumption and smoking were identified as the biggest risks.

Cancers such as early onset breast, stomach, lung and colorectal had the highest death rates, the data showed.

The study did not specify which foods or alcohol were linked to the increased cases or risks but noted high body mass index (BMI) was a strong risk factor for early-onset cancer rates.

Some experts have called for caution in interpreting the results and suggested more research will be needed to properly interpret the results of this study including lifestyle drivers.

Dr Ashleigh Hamilton, Centre for Public Health, Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland, said: The findings challenge perceptions of the type of cancer diagnosed in younger age groups.

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