The number of people under the age of 50 diagnosed with cancer has increased by almost 80 percent worldwide in the past three decades. This emerges from a large-scale study. The number of global cases of cancer in the 14- to 49-year-old age group rose from 1.82 million in 1990 to 3.26 million in 2019, the study in the journal BMJ Oncology shows.
Deaths: 28 percent increase
According to the study, the number of deaths from cancer among those under 50 has also risen sharply. In 2019, more than a million people from this group died of cancer, around 28 percent more than in 1990. The deadliest cancers were breast, trachea, lung, colon and stomach cancer. The researchers observed the greatest increase in tracheal and prostate cancer. Liver cancer cases, on the other hand, went down.
The authors point out in the study that part of this increase can be attributed to population growth. However, previous research had already shown that cancer was being diagnosed more and more frequently among the under-50s. The international research team named poor diet, smoking and alcohol as the most important risk factors in this age group. But the exact cause of the growth “is still unclear,” they added.
The researchers analyzed data from 29 types of cancer in 205 countries. The more developed a country is, the higher the cancer rate among those under 50, according to the study authors. This could indicate that richer countries with better health systems catch cancer earlier. However, there are hardly any screenings for people under 50.