Obesity-linked cancers on the rise in young adults

Obesity-linked cancers on the rise in young adults

"Our findings expose a recent change that could serve as a warning of an increased burden of obesity-related cancers to come in older adults", says Dr Ahmedin Jemal from the American Cancer Society, USA.

Several years ago, the authors of the current study identified increases in early onset colorectal cancer in the US, a trend that has been observed in several high-income countries and could partly reflect the obesity epidemic.

Meanwhile a separate study by Erasmus University Rotterdam into bowel cancer a year ago found soaring rates in younger people across Europe - with scientists saying rising obestity levels were most likely to be the reason for the jump.

The report stated that the obesity-related cancers which were increasing among the youth were colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic and multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer). Sharper rises were observed among successively younger generations and particularly among millennials (in their 20s and 30s). This is important because research has shown that being overweight or obese can increase your risk for certain cancers. Addressing The Rise Of Obesity-Related Cancers The other cancers associated with obesity are thyroid, (postmenopausal) breast, ovarian, upper stomach, meningioma, and liver cancers.

In addition, millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1996) these days are twice more likely to develop colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers than baby boomers (people born worldwide between 1946 and 1964) when they were the same age.

Most epidemiological studies have focused on older populations so the effect on cancer risk of excess bodyweight in early life, or of weight gain in young adulthood, is not well understood.

Obesity has already been linked to rising rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and knee replacements.

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Ahmedin Jemal, senior author of the study, said: 'Although the absolute risk of these cancers is small in younger adults, these findings have important public health implications.

"The future burden of these cancers could worsen as younger cohorts age, potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades", he added.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO Cancer Council Australia said, "With more than two thirds of adults considered overweight or obese, and almost half insufficiently active, these results show we have the potential to prevent a significant number of cancers in Australia and potentially save thousands of lives".

"In the lead up to the next federal election, both sides of politics need to recognise their responsibility to help protect children from mass marketing of junk food; improve the Health Star Rating food labelling system to provide simpler, more informed choices to consumers; and promote more public education about the benefits of good nutrition and exercise". However, screening is less common in younger adults, while increases in cancer incidence were still greater.

It was conducted by researchers from Surveillance and Health Services Research Program at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

[1] Quote direct from author and can not be found in the text of the Article.

The current study did not include data on obesity and can only infer a link between obesity and rising cancer rates, says Schwartz.

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