According to new research, cancer is on the rise for adults under the age of 50, which is concerning.
A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston researchers and published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology earlier this week has shown that early onset breast, esophagus, colon, kidney, pancreas and liver cancers have been on the rise since 1990 all over the world.
As it turns out, the main reason why this is the case is the increase in a sedentary lifestyle and consuming a so-called “Western” diet filled with processed food.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s physician-scientist in the department of pathology, Dr. Shuji Ogino, explains that “Each group of people born at a later time have a bigger risk of developing cancer later on in life, most likely due to risk factors that they were exposed to at a young age.”
For instance, it’s been determined that those born in 1960 are at a higher risk of cancer than someone born a decade earlier!
About this, Ogino went on to note that “We found that this risk is increasing with each generation. We predict this risk level will continue to climb in successive generations.”
The researchers also point out that risk factors for cancers, such as sugar beverages, highly processed foods, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, type 2 diabetes and alcohol consumption have increased significantly since the 1950s.
In other words, all of these unhealthy behaviors are likely to be the main causes of the increasing rates of early onset cancers globally.
Dr. Tomotaka Ugai, the lead author of the study, says that “Among all the 14 cancer types on the rise we studied, 8 were related to the digestive system. The food that we eat feeds the microorganisms in our gut. Eventually all these changes can influence disease risk and outcomes.”
The researchers also suggest that medical scientists all over the world should collaborate in order to monitor global cancer trends and hopefully improve the situation.
Ongoing research should include cancer specimens, including from children, in order to properly identify all the differences between early cases and others that appear later on in life.
Ugai states that “This is not only more cost-effective considering the many cancer types to be studied, but I think that it will yield us more accurate insights into cancer risk for generations to come.”