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Young People Are Getting Way More Cancer Than Old People Did

The prevalence of cancer should be declining, right? But it seems that's not the case, so bummer.

Instead, a recent study that was just released in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology claims that early-onset cancer is becoming a greater hazard to the entire world's population.

"Over the past several decades, the incidence of early-onset cancers, often defined as cancers diagnosed in adults less than 50 years of age... has increased in multiple countries," study authors found.

Although the authors acknowledged that more screening accessibility has contributed to the increase, they also claim that early exposure to dangerous chemicals, some of which can occur even in pregnancy, is likely to be a factor in rising cancer rates.

They believe that as human habitats have changed significantly over the past century, combined with dietary, lifestyle, and microbiome changes, civilization itself may be to blame for the increase.

The tendency also suggests that since cancer can result in infertility, cardiovascular disease, and secondary cancers, younger people may experience higher rates of linked long-term sickness.

It's crucial to remember that older adults and persons over 50 continue to receive more cancer diagnoses than younger people. Additionally, the absolute number of young persons developing cancer is still rather low.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in age groups under age 20, about 350 cases per 100,000 people among people 45–49, and more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people in those who are 60 years and older.

This study, however, says early-onset cancer may be the next global epidemic, and that future generations may be even more likely to develop the disease.

Although the idea is unsettling, the study's authors assert that further investigation might yield answers.

"Given the increasing incidence of several early- onset cancer types, we need to increase the awareness of this trend and potentially reevaluate current screening guidelines," authors wrote in the report. "Further research is needed in this area."

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