Obesity could be leading to a rise in cancer rates
06 February, 2019, 14:26
However, for nearly all (16 out of 18) of the non-obesity relatedcancers, except for gastric cancer and leukemia, cancers dropped or stabilized in successively younger generations-meaning the absolute risk of all cancers is lower for the youngest age groups.
"Further studies are needed to elucidate exposures responsible for these emerging trends, including excess body weight and other risk factors", concludes the team.
It's not possible to definitively attribute the recent cancer increases to obesity - but the new report notes that the upticks in cancer for young people coincided with a doubling in rates of childhood and adolescent obesity between 1980 and 2014, making weight a likely contributor. While the researchers also found an increase in the number of new cases among baby boomers (people over the age of 50), the rise was not as steep or significant. He points out that five of the six cancers on the rise in younger adults - colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney and pancreatic cancer - are treated surgically.
"Given the large increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among young people and increasing risks of obesity-related cancers in contemporary birth cohorts, 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".
For example, the average annual increase for pancreatic cancer was more than four percent for patients ranging in age from 25 to 29, but less than one percent for those age 40 to 44.
Across the six cancer types, the annual increase ranged from 0.4 per cent in uterine corpus cancer to 3.0 per cent in kidney cancer amongst 45 to 49-year-olds, and from 1.4 per cent for multiple myeloma up to 6.2 per cent in kidney cancer in 25 to 29 year-olds.
That upward trajectory has experts concerned about associated medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and up to 13 types of cancer.
Building on earlier research suggesting a link between obesity and more frequent colon cancers in young adults, Jamel and colleagues analysed all cancer cases from 1995 to 2015 in 25 USA states home to 67 percent of the population. They found a disturbing trend among adults age 24 to 49, CNN reported. Others studies show the location of fat - such as fat in the abdomen - may impact cancer risk.
Researchers say that these cancers normally get detected in patients in their 60s and 70s. And while we don't yet know exactly how obesity may be driving up cancer rates, it's "critically important" to see observational studies that that show an association between the two, he noted. If trends continue as projected carrying excess weight could cause even more cases of cancer in women than smoking within 25 years.
Incidence of multiple myeloma and cancers of the colon, uterus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas and thyroid increased in younger adults, the findings showed.
The reseacher said Obesity causes changes a person's DNA that can add up over time.
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