Put it down to burgers and alcohol. According to new research, red meat, salt, and alcohol could be blamed for the continuous rise in cancer diagnoses among young people. An analysis of data from 1990 and 2019 found a 79% increase in the number of new cancer diagnoses among those under 50 over the course of three decades, according to a report published Tuesday in BMJ Oncology.
The researchers examined the number of new cases, deaths, subsequent health effects, and risk factors for adults aged 14 to 49 using information from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 project, which examined the prevalence of 29 malignancies in 204 countries or regions.
According to a group of researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine and University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, there were 3.26 million early-onset cancer diagnoses cases in that age range in 2019 alone, a rise of 79.1% since 1990. The study’s authors also noticed a 27.7% increase in cancer-related mortality since 1990. Some of the cancers with greater mortality rates included those of the breast, trachea, lung, colon, and stomach.
The researchers observed that while early-onset liver cancer rates decreased, incidences of windpipe and prostate cancer have increased significantly since 1990. Breast cancer had the greatest incidence rate of early-onset cases.
Along with Australasia and Western Europe, North America was identified as having one of the highest rates of early-onset malignancies in 2019. The highest death rates were seen in Eastern Europe, Oceania, and Central Asia.
“The increasing uptake of screening and early detection in developed regions and countries may partially attribute to the rising incidence of early-onset cancers,” the study’s authors stated. The rise in detections may also have a positive side, as author Dr. Xue Li noted that “outstanding” screening programmes in the UK had reduced the number of early-onset cancer-related fatalities there.
According to Li of the Centre for Global Health at the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh, “Fortunately, the annual mortality rate from early-onset cancer in the UK has been steadily decreasing, a testament to the outstanding cancer screening and treatment efforts over the past three decades,” according to the Independent. Researchers predicted that early-onset cancer diagnoses might rise by 31% and fatalities by 21% by 2030 if the tendencies they had found persisted.
The authors stated that variations in cancer diagnoses and mortality rates by area could be brought on by “local environment, lifestyle, and level of available medical treatment.”
The research also suggested that a “Western diet,” which includes too much red meat and salt and insufficient amounts of fruit and milk, may be putting young people at danger. Along with lack of exercise, a high body mass index, and raised blood sugar, other characteristics that were emphasized as cancer risk factors for people under 50 included alcohol consumption and tobacco use.