Some Cancers Are Rising in Young People. Scientists Think They Know Why

In a sweeping study covering two-thirds of the US population researchers showed that half a dozen cancers for which obesity is a known risk factor became more frequent from 1995 to 2015 among women and men under 50

In a sweeping study covering two-thirds of the US population researchers showed that half a dozen cancers for which obesity is a known risk factor became more frequent from 1995 to 2015 among women and men under 50

The risk of developing an obesity-related cancer is increasing for millennials in the United States, according to a new study.

Kidney cancer rates in people in their twenties are rising by 6 per cent a year, according to researchers who suggested that extra fat during key stages of youth could lead to deadly diseases.

Even though cancer most often strikes older adults, the sharpest increases were found in younger age groups.

The rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths have fallen in the USA over the past few decades. The fastest rises were...

For example, pancreatic cancer rates increased, on average, by less than 1 percent per year among people ages 40 to 84; but rates increased 2.5 percent among people ages 30 to 34 years old; and 4.3 percent per year among those ages 25 to 29.

Obesity is now one of the most preventable causes of cancer, responsible for around one in 20 cases in the United Kingdom and one in 12 in the US. In 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a branch of the World Health Organization) published a report linking obesity to a higher risk of 12 cancers: Colorectal, esophageal, gallbladder, gastric cardia (a type of stomach cancer), kidney, liver and bile duct, multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer), pancreatic and thyroid cancer; and, in women, endometrial, breast and ovarian cancer.

Ahmedin Jemal, senior author of the study, said: "Although the absolute risk of these cancers is small in younger adults, these findings have important public health implications".

What's more, millennials had about double the risk of developing certain obesity-related cancers than baby boomers had at the same age.

Six of 12 types of obesity-related cancers appeared with a "significantly increased" frequency between 1995 to 2014 in the millions of people included in the study.

"Given the large increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among young people and increasing risks of obesity-related cancers in contemporary birth cohorts, the future burden of these cancers could worsen as younger cohorts age, potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades".

The authors of the study argue that further research is needed to determine what factors are driving the trend.

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