Doctors Alarmed Over Global Surge In Cancers Among Young People

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Doctors from all around the world are sounding the alarm over a mysterious surge of young people being diagnosed with cancers that are usually associated with the elderly.

They say there is no obvious explanation for what lies behind the global cancer phenomenon

While the rates of some cancers in some countries were increasing prior to 2020, recent trends indicate a surge since the pandemic and researchers think this is set to continue for a number of years.

The Mail Online reports: Nearly every continent is experiencing an increase of various types of cancer in people under 50 years old, which is particularly problematic as the disease tends to be caught in later stages in this population because most doctors aren’t trained to look for it in young people.

The disparities of rates and types of the disease are puzzling scientists and have prompted some to kick off multi-decade research projects that will involve hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. 

Globally, Australia has seen the highest number of early-onset cancer diagnoses in the world, with a rate of 135 per 100,000 people. 

Nearby New Zealand has the second highest rate, at 119 cases in people under 50 per 100,000 people. 

But while breast cancer is the top disease in Australia, colon cancer ranks first in its neighbor.

In Asia, Japan and South Korea may be close in proximity and similar economically, but they have different rates of early-onset colon cancer, which is increasing at a faster rate in South Korea.

The United States falls in sixth place, with 87 cases per 100,000 people under 50 years old and the U.K. takes the 28th spot, with 70.5 cases per 100,000 people. 

Cancers increasing the fastest include throat and prostate cancers. Early-onset cancers with the highest mortality include beast, tracheal (windpipe), lung, stomach and colon. 

Experts have longed speculated the increasing obesity rates and earlier cancer screenings may be behind the rise, as well as high-fat diets, alcohol consumption and tobacco use.

However, because lifestyles, habits and diets vary so widely from country-to-country, they now believe these factors do not entirely account for the surge.

Daniel Huang, a hepatologist at the National University of Singapore, told Nature: “Many have hypothesised that things like obesity and alcohol consumption might explain some of our findings. But it looks like you need a deeper dive into the data.”

More recent researchers have begun to focus on a genetic component to early-onset cancer. Some have found younger people develop more aggressive tumors than older patients, which are better at suppressing a person’s immune system. 

Pathologist Shuji Ogino at Harvard Medical School and his colleagues have also discovered a weakened immune response in people with early-onset tumors. 

Still, however, the differences are subtle, Ogino said, and a clear reason cannot be determined. 

Niamh Harris
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.