The incidence of cancers diagnosed before the age of 50 has risen dramatically worldwide, with the increase beginning around 1990, a study has found.
These early cancers include cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver and pancreas, among others, the researchers said.
Possible risk factors for early cancer include alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, smoking, obesity and consumption of highly processed foods, the researchers said.
Although adult sleep duration hasn’t changed drastically in recent decades, children sleep far less today than they did decades ago, they said.
Risk factors such as highly processed foods, sugary drinks, obesity, type 2 diabetes, sedentary lifestyle and alcohol consumption have all increased dramatically since the 1950s, which according to the researchers, accompanied the alteration of the microbiome.
“From our data, we observed what is called the birth cohort effect,” said Shuji Ogino, a professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA.
“This effect shows that each successive group of people born later (say, a decade later) has a higher risk of developing cancer later in life, likely due to risk factors they were exposed to in life. a young age,” Ogino said. .
The study, published recently in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, found that the risk increases with each generation.
For example, people born in 1960 had a higher cancer risk before age 50 than people born in 1950.
The researchers predict that this level of risk will continue to increase over generations.
They first analyzed global data describing the incidence of 14 different types of cancer which showed an increase in incidence in adults before the age of 50 from 2000 to 2012.
The team then searched for available studies that looked at trends in possible risk factors, including early exposures in the general population.
The researchers found that the exposome in early life, which encompasses diet, lifestyle, weight, environmental exposures and microbiome, has changed significantly over the past few decades.
They hypothesized that factors such as westernized diet and lifestyle could contribute to the early cancer epidemic.
The team recognized that this increased incidence of certain types of cancer is, in part, due to early detection through cancer screening programs.
The researchers could not accurately measure how much of this growing prevalence could be attributed solely to screening and early detection.
However, they noted that increased incidence of many of the 14 cancer types is unlikely solely due to improved screening alone.
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