Global Cancer Cases Rise 79% in Under-50s Over 30 Years: Study


In the past three decades, there has been a significant surge in worldwide cancer cases among individuals under the age of 50, according to a study. This research, published in BMJ Oncology, reported an unsettling 79% increase, totalling 3.26 million cases in 2019 compared to 1990.

However, experts have advised caution in interpreting these findings. Key points the research didn’t account for includes a 40% uptick in the global population during the same period. Enhanced reporting methods might also have contributed to the perceived rise in cases.

The international team, comprised of experts from the United States, China, United Kingdom and other nations, concurs that it’s too early to make definite conclusions based on the current data. There’s concern, however, that lifestyle factors such as unhealthy diets high in red meat, salt, physical inactivity, and excess weight are to blame for the mounting cancer cases among 14 to 49-year-olds. The influence of genetic predispositions was also noted.

Breast, skin, and digestive system cancers were identified as being most prevalent. A disconcerting over one million cancer-related deaths were recorded among under-50s in 2019. This marks a rise of over 25% in mortality. However, in light of the 40% global population increase, these figures could paradoxically suggest a decline in the death rate.

The analysed data was obtained from the Global Burden of Disease dataset, which encompasses more than 200 countries. The researchers emphasised that more extensive research is essential for a comprehensive understanding of this rising trend. There’s an apparent urgency for enhanced efforts to advance detection and prevention methods with a specific focus on younger adults.

Prof Dorothy Bennett, a cell-biology expert from the University of London, seconded the need for detailed research, stating it’s currently ‘not possible’ to make concrete conclusions based solely on the available data.

In the United Kingdom, Cancer Research UK verified traces of increasing cancer rates among individuals aged 18 to 49. However, Dr Claire Knight from CRUK crucially adds: “No matter how alarming this data may seem, we must remember that cancer generally remains a disease of older age. The majority of new cancer cases globally are still diagnosed in those aged 50 and above.”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.


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