Science and Tech


Early-onset cancer cases up nearly 80% in past 30 years, report finds

Breast cancer accounted for the highest number of cases when it comes to cancer among those under 50.
This microscope image by the National Institutes of Health in September 2016 shows a culture of human breast cancer cells.
Posted at 4:27 PM, Sep 06, 2023

Research published this week in the journal BMJ Oncology shows that cancer cases in those under 50 have increased by 97% over the past three decades.

While breast cancer accounted for the highest number of cases, windpipe cancer and prostate cancer have risen the fastest since 1990 when it comes to early-onset cases.

The study looked at cases from 1990 to 2019.

New cancer diagnoses among those under 50 totaled 1.82 million in 2019.

The most deaths were due to cancers of the breast, windpipe, lung, bowel, and stomach.

Colon cancer cases are rising in people under age 50
This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows colon cancer.

Colon cancer cases are rising in people under age 50

Gastrointestinal cancers had the fastest-growing incidence rates among all early-onset cancers, one study found.


Another study, released in August, looked at more than 500,000 people with early onset-cancer in the U.S. from 2010 to 2019 and found that gastrointestinal cancers had the fastest-growing rates among all early-onset cancers.

What’s causing the increase?

Risk factors for early-onset cancer can include dietary choices, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, and tobacco use.

Dietary choices that can contribute to cancer risk are diets high in red meats and sodium and low in fruits.

Based on these trends in cancer cases, researchers estimate the number of early onset cancer cases will rise by 31% in 2030, with people in their 40s at the most risk.

Doctors say prevention and early detection are crucial to help combat deaths due to early onset cancers.

@scrippsnews Cancer cases in people under 50 have gone up by nearly 80 percent in the past 3 decades, new research shows. Breast cancer accounts for the highest number of cases. #cancer #healthtok ♬ original sound - Scripps News

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