Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Cancer Increasingly Strikes Young Adults


A study in the journal BMJ Oncology reports a sizable global rise in cancers among adults under 50, with the highest rates found in North America, Australia and Western Europe. Between 1990 and 2019, the incidence of early-onset cancer increased by 79.1 percent, and early-onset cancer deaths rose by 27.7 percent. Of the 29 cancers included in the analysis, nasopharyngeal and prostate cancers showed the fastest upward trend, whereas early-onset liver cancer exhibited the sharpest decrease. In the U.S., early-onset cancer rates rose 12.8 percent, while the incidence rate of individuals 50 and older declined.


Although the exact reasons for this alarming trend have not yet been identified, the researchers pointed to the following likely culprits as the main causes: dietary risk factors, including eating excessive red meat and sodium and not enough fruits and vegetables; alcohol consumption; and tobacco use.