There is a disturbing increase in cancers in youngsters, over the last 20 years

An article in the Wall Street Journal raised a very worrying alarm

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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There is a disturbing increase in cancers in youngsters, over the last 20 years
© Getty Images / Handout

The Wall Street Journal has launched a very worrying alarm regarding the health of the youngsters. According to an article published by the well-known newspaper, there has been a disturbing increase in cancers among young people in the last 20 years.

A trend also confirmed by a study last year published in Bmj Oncology. The WSJ highlights the dismay of doctors around the world at the evident increase in cancer among young people. Federal data in the United States said the 2019 diagnosis rates, in cases per 100 thousand people under 50, reached 107.8 cases, a growth of 12.8% compared to 95.6 per 100 thousand in 2000.

Cancer© Getty Images / Handout

In 2019, a fifth of new colorectal cancer patients were under 55 years old, double compared to 1995. Furthermore, the fact that it is unexpected among younger people, and therefore not looked for with specific analyses, facilitates late diagnoses in young people, when the cancer is in an advanced stage, so much so that mortality rates from colorectal cancer among those over 65 are decreasing, while they are increasing among those under 50.

The highest rates in North America, Australia and Western Europe.

There is a disturbing increase in cancers in youngsters

There are several hypotheses, but for now nothing confirmed. Scholars and doctors point the finger at modern lifestyles, little physical activity and the eating style made up of many foods with highly refined raw materials.

Andrea Cercek, co-director of a program for gastrointestinal cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, explained: "Patients are getting younger." Meilin Keen, a 27-year-old to whom the newspaper dedicates ample space, was treated in her ward.

Meilin was studying for the bar exam in June when she started vomiting blood: she discovered she had stomach cancer, for which she underwent surgery. Some environmental change, something in our food, our medications, or something we haven't identified yet." Colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, appendix cancer, stomach cancer, uterine cancer.

These are the tumors that most affect young people. Timothy Rebbeck, a cancer epidemiologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said: "Colorectal cancer was the canary in the coal mine."