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A cancer diagnosis is terrifying and life-changing at any age, but many younger people don’t think much about their cancer risk.
The fact is this: cancer is on the rise among the under-50 crowd.
Now, I’m not trying to scare you.
What I’d like to do is alert you to the fact that you may be part of a group at higher risk than ever before — and share how you can lower those odds and avoid cancer, at any age.
Cancer in 14 to 49-year-olds jumps 80 percent
A large international group of researchers recently issued a report based on data from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study.
Based on information collected across 204 countries involving 29 cancer types, the study led by Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China reports that cancer cases in 14 to 49-year-olds rose from 1.82 million in 1990 to 3.26 million in 2019.
Over a million people under 50 died of cancer in 2019, with breast cancer responsible for the most deaths overall. The other deadliest cancers for younger adults in 2019 were windpipe, lung, bowel, and stomach cancers.
The findings also show that new cases of early-onset cancer — defined as occurring before age 50 — are expected to increase by 31 percent worldwide by 2030, with a corresponding 21 percent increase in deaths. The risk is greatest for people aged between 40 and 49.
Cases are up, but deaths are down
There is one bit of good news in all these grim statistics.
Cell biologist Dorothy Bennett from St George’s, University of London, explains it this way:
“The increase in numbers of cancer deaths in this age group was notably lower than for diagnoses, namely 28 percent, which is below the increases in total population and case numbers, indicating a fall in the average cancer death rate in this group.”
In other words, although cases of cancer are increasing, the number of deaths is falling.
Fortunately, no matter your age, genetic risk or other factors that predispose you to cancer, there are things you can do to keep it from catching up with you.
Address these culprits and improve your odds
The researchers in this study note that there are many preventable factors to consider that play a role in increased cancer risk:
“Dietary risk factors (diet high in red meat, low in fruits, high in sodium and low in milk, etc), alcohol consumption and tobacco use are the main risk factors underlying early-onset cancers,” they write in their paper.
Their data also indicated that inactive lifestyles, air pollution, obesity, diabetes and high blood sugar are likely to be among the culprits.
Adults born around 1985 (older millennials) have double the risk of colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers as people born around 1950 did at the same age.
Watching too much TV has been linked to a 70 percent higher risk of early-onset colorectal cancer. So don’t be a couch potato; make sure some mild to moderate exercise — a walk, gardening, or a swim — is part of each day.
And it’s well known that obesity is a risk factor for more than a dozen types of cancer, so eating well is a no-brainer when it comes to outsmarting cancer.
Of vital importance is your vitamin D levels. A growing body of research shows this one-a-day vitamin can slash cancer risk and improve the odds against dying from it.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!