If you’re in your 30s or 40s, cancer may not be on your mind even as you continue to undergo mammograms and other tests. However, it is important to know that the number of people under 50 who are diagnosed with cancer is increasing at a faster pace than people over 50. American Cancer Society’s latest statistical report.
The cancer incidence rate in the United States is Top 2 million people For the first time this year, the new data highlights growing concerns among young people.
The proportion of people under 50 diagnosed with cancer fell by 3 percent. 15% to 12%, From 1995 to 2020, as the proportion of cancer patients in the general population decreased, that age group experienced the largest increase in overall cancer cases. Most notable was the increase in colorectal cancer.
Why are cases of colorectal cancer on the rise?
In the late 1990s, colorectal cancer was the fourth leading cause of cancer death for both men and women under the age of 50; now it is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in this age group. It is the second leading cause of death. .
of report He said the rise in colorectal cancer cases could not be explained, but that nearly one in three people diagnosed with colorectal cancer before the age of 50 had a family history or genetic predisposition. Pointed out. The American Cancer Society report also states that the increase in cases “likely reflects changes in lifestyle exposures beginning with generations born around 1950.”
Other notable trends include an increase in endometrial and pancreatic cancers in all age groups, and an increase in cervical cancer in women aged 30 to 44 years. Liver cancer is also on the rise in women of all ages.
Where are the areas at highest risk for cancer?
The American Cancer Society also reports that the LGTBQ+ community faces unique challenges that put them at risk for developing cancer. Lesbian and bisexual women, in particular, tend to be at higher risk for breast cancer due to more likely risk factors such as having fewer children, drinking more alcohol, and gaining weight. However, more data are needed to fully understand risk factors in all age groups. According to the report, no active method currently exists to collect information on incidence and mortality rates for the LGBTQ+ community because sexual orientation and gender identity are not consistently collected in medical records.
“There are some differences in exposure within the LGBTQ+ population that may have a significant impact on the risk of developing cancer, but we cannot examine cancer risk due to the lack of data. Data is also key to developing targeted cancer control efforts. It’s time for America to close that gap,” said lead author of the report and senior scientist for surveillance research at the American Cancer Society. Director Rebecca Siegel said: report.
Racial disparities in cancer diagnosis are also significant across age groups, as blacks are twice as likely to develop prostate, stomach, and uterine cancer compared to whites. Black women are twice as likely to die from endometrial cancer as white women. Researchers say this is primarily because white women are diagnosed with cancer later and therefore have higher cancer death rates.
How can we increase cancer prevention for people under 50?
Amid all this, there is some somewhat good news: Cancer mortality rates in the United States fell 33% This equates to an estimated 4.1 million fewer cancer deaths from 1991 to 2021. Researchers believe this is due to better disease control and detection, as well as fewer people smoking.
“We are encouraged by the steady decline in cancer mortality rates as a result of reduced smoking, early detection of some cancers, and improved treatments,” said the report’s lead author. said Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director for surveillance research at the American Cancer Society.said in statement. “However, as the incidence of many common cancers continues to increase, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, and even colorectal and cervical cancer in some young people, As a nation, we have been cutting corners in cancer prevention.”
The report’s findings highlight the growing need for policies to address these disparities, said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, an advocacy group for the American Cancer Society. said.
“We are calling on legislators at all levels of government to improve access and affordability of health care, including making health insurance available to more people and increasing funding for cancer research and screening programs. We urge them to promote policies that improve the quality of their lives,” Lacasse said. statement. “Doing so will bring us closer to our vision of ending cancer for everyone we know.”