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In the last three decades (1990-2019) the number of new cases of cancer in the under 50s has increased by 79%. And according to research just published in BMJ Oncology, this astonishing growth is happening globally.
To date, most of these observational studies have focused on regional and national differences, and few have looked at the issue from a global perspective or assessing risk factors for young adults, point out researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Zhejiang. University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China who conducted the study.
In an effort to fill these knowledge gaps, the authors of the analysis drew on data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study for 29 cancers in 204 countries and regions. They then looked at the incidence (new cases), deaths, health outcomes (disability-adjusted life expectancy) and risk factors in people aged 14 to 49 to estimate the annual percentage change between 1990 and 2019. In the last year, new cancer diagnoses among the under 50s totaled 3.26 million, i.e. 79% more than the 1990 figure.
Overall, breast cancer accounted for the largest number of these cases and associated deaths, at 13.7 and 3.5/100,000 of the world‘s population, respectively.
But new cases of early-onset tracheal and prostate cancer rose fastest between 1990 and 2019, with estimated annual percentage changes of 2.28% and 2.23%, respectively. At the opposite end of the spectrum, early-onset liver cancer has been decreasing by about 2.88% each year.