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New Cancer Cases in Under-50s Have Risen by 79% in 30 Years

Cancer Cases in Under-50s Have Risen
Based on the data from 1990 to 2019, cancer cases in under-50s have risen by 79 percent. Credit: Navy Medicine / Flickr / Public Domain

A recent study reveals concerning news about cancer among younger people worldwide. From 1990 to 2019, there was a significant increase in the number of new cancer cases and deaths in individuals under 50 years old.

This research underscores the need to inform both the public and healthcare professionals about the growing occurrence of specific cancers in younger age groups, wrote New Atlas.

While previous studies mainly looked at how cancer rates vary within regions and countries and included people of all ages, only a few delved into “early-onset” cancer, which refers to cancer diagnosed in individuals aged 14 to 49.

However, these limited studies hinted at a rising trend in cancer diagnoses among those under 50.

Research on the worldwide impact of early-onset cancer

A recent research effort jointly conducted by Zhejiang University School of Medicine, the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and the University of Edinburgh has investigated the worldwide impact of early-onset cancer. This comprehensive study relied on data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 study.

By utilizing the information from GBD, the team of researchers analyzed various aspects of 29 different types of cancer across 204 countries and regions.

They examined the number of new cases (incidence), mortality rate, health-related consequences, known as disability-adjusted life years or DALYs, and factors contributing to the risk of these cancers.

In the year 2019, there were 3.26 million new cases of cancer detected in individuals under the age of 50. This marks a significant rise of 79.1 percent compared to numbers reported in the 1990 Global Burden of Disease study.

Furthermore, the rate of cancer-related deaths among this younger age group increased by 27.7 percent during the same period from 1990 to 2019. It’s important to note that these rates were calculated per 100,000 people, eliminating population growth as a factor influencing this concerning trend, according to research.

Breast cancer accounts for the largest number of cancer cases

In general, breast cancer had the highest number of cases and related deaths, with 13.7 cases and 3.5 deaths per 100,000 people globally.

However, the fastest-growing new cases of early-onset cancer were tracheal and prostate cancer, with an estimated annual increase of 2.28 percent and 2.23 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, rates of early-onset liver cancer decreased by approximately 2.88 percent each year, according to this new study.

In 2019, the regions with the highest occurrences of early-onset cancers were North America, Australasia, and Western Europe. However, it is important to note that low-to-middle-income countries also experienced the impact of these cancers.

The places where under-50s faced the highest risk of death due to these cancers included Oceania, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, based on this new research.

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