New study: Cancer rates rise among younger age groups

An Arizona oncologist says not to brush off symptoms
Childhood obesity during the 90s is a common factor in a recent study looking into cancer rates.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 9:20 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A new Jama Health medical study reveals cancer rates rising amongst people under the age of 50.

The study pulled tumor patient registers from 2010 to 2019, and out of the over 500,000 patients, it showed gastrointestinal cancers becoming the fastest growing incident rates in early-onset cancer groups.

Researchers saw an upward trend in cases in the 30- to 39-year-old age group, and oncologists at Banner Health said these results are a generational outcome.

The 30 to 39 age group grew up during a time when childhood obesity was a huge problem among many Americans. The problem got worse after years of continued unhealthy diet and exercise habits. However, Dr. Madappa Kundranda said he has seen another risk factor rise in recent years. “Moderate amounts of alcohol consumption is one of the things we’ve seen since the pandemic,” Dr. Kandranda said, “These can certainly be detrimental when you look at some of the risk factors when it comes to pancreatic cancer.”

Another trend Dr. Kandranda has noticed is patients not acting on their symptoms. He and his colleagues have treated many patients who brushed off their symptoms at first before getting evaluated. He said there are symptoms folks should be aware of and consider getting checked if they aren’t sure. “Most patients, even the older patients, report to me and say, ‘I thought it was Hemorrhoids, and it was constipation that was causing Hemorrhoids, and that’s why I was having rectal bleeding,’” he said, “These are symptoms that can be detected early, does every patient need a colonoscopy, probably not, but they definitely need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.”

Dr. Kandranda said symptoms worth getting evaluated are — having a hard time swallowing, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, or unintentional weight loss if it has been consistent or gotten worse. He believes if people are transparent about their health and make healthy choices now, it can help decrease incident rates in the future. “Staying physically active, having a well-balanced diet, and both being mentally and physically healthy is an extremally important part of this to prevent something like this happening three decades down the line.”

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