(The Hill) — New research has found an increase in early-onset cancer rates among younger people between 2010 and 2019.
In a study published in the JAMA Network Open Journal, researchers found that “the incidence rates of early-onset cancers increased substantially” between 2010 and 2019. The researchers said that gastrointestinal cancers had the fastest-growing rates among all the ones they looked at.
The study, using data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, found that there was a 0.74% increase among all age groups in incident early-onset cancers. The study found that the rates increased in those aged 30 to 39 years and remained stable in all other age groups below the age of 50.
“There is a need to inform health care professionals about the increasing incidence of early-onset cancer, and investigations for possible tumors need to be considered when clinically appropriate, even in patients younger than 50 years,” the study’s discussion stated.
“These data will be useful for public health specialists and health care policy makers and serve as a call to action for further research into the various environmental factors that may be associated with this concerning pattern,” the discussion said.
Rates also “disproportionally” increased among women, American Indian or Alaska Native individuals and Asian or Pacific Islander individuals. The study found that while gastrointestinal cancers had the fastest growing rates, breast cancer had the highest number of incident cases.
Cancer is typically diagnosed later in life. In the United States, nearly 60% of patients are 65 or older when they’re diagnosed.
However, other recent studies have also shown that the rate of early-onset cases is rising in the U.S. among those under the age of 50, but experts are not exactly sure why.