Cancers fueled by obesity are on the rise among young adults in the United States and appearing at increasingly younger ages, according to an analysis released [February 4] by the American Cancer Society.
The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, examined data on 12 obesity-related cancers between 1995 and 2014, as well as 18 common cancers not associated with weight. They found a disturbing trend among adults age 24 to 49.
“The risk of cancer is increasing in young adults for half of the obesity-related cancers, with the increase steeper in progressively younger ages,” said co-author Ahmedin Jemal.
The six obesity-related cancers that showed startling increases among younger adults were colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.
Most of these cancers have traditionally shown up in patients later in life, usually in their 60s and 70s.
“The study was not set up to establish causation,” [Dr. George] Chang said. “We know there are many factors that are associated with both obesity and cancer, such as lack of exercise and poor diet. How much each of those factors contribute to cancer is less clear.”
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