Global Cancer Cases in People Under 50 Surged by Nearly 80% in Three Decades

A recent study unveils a staggering increase in the diagnosis of early onset cancers in people below the age of 50.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Global Cancer Cases in People Under 50 Surged by Nearly 80% in Three Decades
© Getty Images News/Adri Salido

A recent study unveils a staggering increase in the diagnosis of early onset cancers in people below the age of 50, reports The Guardian. This marks an alarming global health trend that needs immediate attention.

Key Findings

Over the past three decades, there has been an approximate 80 percent spike in under-50s diagnosed with cancer, as revealed by the largest global study on this subject to date.

From 1990 to 2019, early-stage cancer diagnoses surged from 1.82 million to 3.26 million. More disconcertingly, cancer-related fatalities in adults in their 40s or younger saw a 27 percent increase. The Guardian highlights that every year, cancer claims the lives of over a million people below the age of 50.

While researchers are still grappling with pinpointing the exact causes behind this surge, several potential factors have been spotlighted. Among these are poor dietary habits, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, lack of physical activity, and the rising prevalence of obesity.

Understanding the Underlying Causes

The study, jointly conducted by the University of Edinburgh and the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, holds a unique position as it’s the first to analyze this pressing issue on a global scale.

The findings of the study, presented in BMJ Oncology, stated: “Since 1990, the incidence and deaths of early onset cancers have substantially increased globally. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, the restriction of tobacco and alcohol consumption and appropriate outdoor activity, could reduce the burden of early onset cancer”.

Dr. Claire Knight from Cancer Research UK, though not directly involved in this study, shed light on the importance of these findings while emphasizing caution. She noted that even though these statistics might sound daunting, cancer predominantly remains a disease associated with older age. “We need more research to examine the causes of early onset cancer for specific cancer types,” she suggested.

For those concerned about potential cancer risks, Dr. Knight recommends adhering to a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, avoidance of smoking, and practicing sun safety. The unique aspect of this study is its global approach.

Unlike previous research that typically centered on regional or national disparities, this investigation analyzed data from a sweeping 204 countries, encompassing 29 distinct types of cancer.

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