Cancer: the number of patients is exploding among those under 50: the causes of this worrying trend are known

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An American scientific study published on September 6 in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology reveals a significant worldwide increase in fourteen types of cancer in people under 50. The role of lifestyle and diet seems preponderant and underlines, beyond screening, the importance of prevention.

While the Minister of Health recently announced the setting up of free preventive consultations at different key ages for health (25, 45 and 65) and we are in the middle of Pink October, this annual communication campaign intended to raise awareness women to the importance of breast cancer screening (and to raise funds for research), more than ever the fight against cancer must concern all of society and young adults in particular. Because if cancer is often associated with aging, it also affects people under 50, as confirmed by an American scientific study published on September 6 in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

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Each new generation presents more risks than the previous one

This study, carried out using data collected between 2000 and 2012, reveals a significant global increase in fourteen types of cancer in people under 50 years of age. “Over the past few decades, the incidence of early onset cancers, often defined as cancers diagnosed in adults over 50 years of age, in the breast, colorectum, endometrium, esophagus, extra bile ducts -hepatic, gallbladder, head and neck, kidneys, liver, bone marrow, pancreas, prostate, stomach and thyroid increased in several countries,” say the scientists.

This increase would have started in the 1990s and the risk of developing early cancer has continued to increase with each new generation. “Each new generation is more likely than the previous one to develop early cancer. Thus, people born in 1960 had a higher risk of cancer before turning 50 than people born in 1950 and we expect this level of risk to continue to increase over generations,” the scientists explain.

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Role of diet and lifestyle

The increase in the incidence of these 14 types of cancer cannot only be explained by screening, which has improved, but also by the diet, lifestyle or environmental exposures to which the subjects were exposed. .

“Of the 14 types of rising cancers we studied, eight were related to the digestive system. The food we eat feeds the microorganisms in our gut. Diet directly affects the composition of the microbiota and these changes can influence disease risk,” the scientists explain.

“Increased consumption of highly processed or westernized foods as well as changes in lifestyles, environment, morbidities and other factors could all have contributed to these changes in exposures. Therefore, although available data on the incidence of early-onset cancers in low- and middle-income countries are currently limited, the increase in early-onset cancers is likely to be increasingly large in these countries. , which could lead to the onset of a cancer pandemic”, warn the scientists who now want to go further with “prospective cohort studies with dedicated biobanking and data collection technologies”.

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Call by researchers to raise awareness among the public and health professionals

The researchers also insist on the “awareness of the public and health professionals. “There is a reasonable assumption that […] interventions that promote a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, may reduce cancer risk. Beyond personal prevention efforts, systematic interventions that promote uptake of testing and healthier lifestyles at the societal level (such as, but not limited to, regulation of industries that produce tobacco, ultra-healthy foods and beverages) processed) could potentially have an effect on cancer risk. »

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