Medical

Obesity-Linked Cancers On the Rise Among Young Americans

Obesity-Linked Cancers On the Rise Among Young Americans

The obesity epidemic is driving a surge in the number of young people diagnosed with obesity-related cancers that threatens to reverse decades of progress in lowering cancer deaths, according to a new study.

To try to curb the trend of rising cancers among the obese, Jemal thinks that primary care doctors need to screen all their patients for obesity.

Although screening for most of these cancers isn't available or useful for younger patients, colon cancer is an exception, Jemal said.

In addition, communities can provide more opportunities for people to exercise by creating bike and walking paths.

Mirroring the decades-long increase in obesity rates in the US, cancers that are thought to be driven at least in part by excess weight are also on the rise among people under age 50, a new study suggests. This was true for half of the 12 cancers classified as related to obesity: colorectal, uterine corpus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer).

Overall, cancer-related deaths in the United States have fallen 27 percent in the past 25 years, mostly because fewer people are smoking and developing lung cancer, according to the most recent cancer statistics, published January 8, 2018, in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians (from the American Cancer Society). The study, appearing in The Lancet Public Health, also looked at rates for 18 cancers unrelated to obesity, and found rates increasing for only two.




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. However, the study found a 4.34 percent average annual increase in pancreatic cancer diagnoses among people between the ages of 25 and 29 during the study period.

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.

The researchers noted that young adults still have an overall lower risk of developing these cancers, compared with older adults. For incidence rate ratios please see Tables S5 (12 obesity-related cancers) and S6 (18 additional cancers) in the appendix. This could reflect the fact that some types of breast cancer are on the rise while others in decline.

"This study shows the incidence of cancer associated with obesity has been rising dramatically in groups of individuals born in more recent decades", said MD Anderson Cancer Center's Dr. George Chang, who was not associated with the analysis.

While the United States has the highest obesity levels in the world, the UK's levels have risen by 92 per cent since 1991, compared with a rise of 65 per cent in the U.S., making it the sixth fattest nation in the developed world. Being fat is one of the biggest avoidable causes of cancer. About one in 12 cancer cases in the United States are caused by excess weight, the researchers noted.


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