Cancer cases soared 79% globally among young adults over past 3 decades: study

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2023-09-05 22:30:46  • 8 mins

A surge in global cancer cases for people under the age of 50 has raised urgent concerns about the shifting landscape of this disease among younger populations, according to new research.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal BMJ Oncology, found that in 2019 new cases of early-onset cancers (people aged 15 to 49 years) were 3.26 million, a 79.1-per cent increase from 1990.

While breast cancer made up the highest number of cases in this age group, the fastest-rising cancers since 1990 have been those of the windpipe (nasopharynx) and prostate, the study found.

The researchers found that new cancer cases cancer with the heaviest death toll for young adults were breast, windpipe, lung, bowel and stomach.

“Cancers historically perceived to be more common in older age groups are now being diagnosed in younger adults, including colorectal, breast, oesophageal, gastric and pancreatic cancers, among others,” said Dr. Ashleigh Hamilton, a clinical lecturer at the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, U.K., in an editorial piece on the study. She was not involved in the research.

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