Exploring rising cancer rates in younger people

September 27, 2023 – Cancer rates are increasing in people below the age of 50, a trend that could be driven by obesity and other factors, according to experts.

For the past 30 years or so, over a dozen types of cancers have become more common in younger people, according to Timothy Rebbeck, Vincent L. Gregory, Jr. Professor of Cancer Prevention at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was one of several guests interviewed in a September 15 story on WBUR’s “On Point.” The types of cancers span multiple organ systems and include colorectal, breast, and kidney cancers, he said.

Rebbeck explained that the trend could be related to increasing rates of obesity, since the condition has been associated with early-onset cancers. Other potential factors include exposure to environmental toxins and eating Western diets, which contain high amounts of processed foods, red meat, and sugar.

Listen to or read the WBUR story: Why are cancer rates rising among young people?

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Lifestyle changes may be driving higher cancer rates in people under 50 (Harvard Chan School news)