US Young Adults are Getting More Cancers| Doctors Can't find reason

Key points of the article 

  • Cancer cases are increasing among those under 50 in the US, including gastrointestinal cancers.
  • A study found that early-onset cancer rates increased in females but decreased in males from 2010 to 2019. 
  • Gastrointestinal cancers, such as those affecting the appendix, bile duct, and pancreas, had the most rapid growth.

Recently, public health experts have become concerned about the increasing number of young adults in the United States who have been diagnosed with cancer. 

Although medical professionals have primarily focused on colorectal cancer, a recent study shows that other types of cancer are also becoming more common among young adults. 

Study Discoveries

According to a recent study in JAMA Network Open, there’s been a concerning increase in cases of cancer in people under 50 years old from 2010 to 2019. The study examined data from 17 National Cancer Institute registries and analyzed a large group of 562,145 patients who were diagnosed with early-onset cancer.

Scientists found that more women get cancer at a younger age, while fewer men do. The biggest increase in cancer was in the stomach and organs near it. Although breast cancer is still the most common, the rise in stomach cancer is a problem.

Experts ideas 

Dr. Anton Bilchik, a surgical oncologist and head of medicine at Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, has observed that some cancers, such as appendix and biliary cancers, are growing at an unexpectedly fast pace. This has left doctors questioning the implications of these findings.

“The oncology research community still does not have a firm understanding of the underlying cause of this rise in early-onset cases,” he says. “Current research suggests early-onset gastrointestinal cancers may be influenced by changes in bacterial species of gut microbiome, early antibiotic exposure or environmental carcinogens.”

Dr. Christopher G. Cann, assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia

Even the obesity epidemic might be part of the puzzle. Dr. Jack Jacoub, a medical oncologist and director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute, thinks that the increase in cancer rates is linked to the growing number of people who are overweight in the U.S. Obesity can cause hormonal changes and inflammation, both of which may increase the risk of cancer, as he highlighted.

What Might Be Causing This

There could be a few things causing the rise in cancer rates. Younger people are undergoing cancer screening more frequently, possibly due to improved cancer screening practices. Dr. Bilchik has said that lowering the age for colorectal cancer screening to 45 is an example of this shift. Young people may be more aware of cancer risks, leading to increased detection.

“Everyone has recognized that the American population is more obese than other populations in the world,” he says. “There are a lot of downstream issues from obesity — hormonal changes and inflammation — that may lead to an increased incidence of cancer.”

Dr. Christopher G. Cann, assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia


Doctors are concerned about the rising cancer rates among young adults in the U.S. The study found that gastrointestinal cancers are increasing at an early age. Healthcare professionals are working hard to understand why this trend is happening. Better cancer detection and screening can reverse rising cancer rates..

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