According to the most recently available Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [BRFSS] data, the percentage of Americans who are obese has risen to 39.6% of U.S. adults over age 20. Along with this increase, new diagnoses of a dozen types of cancer linked to obesity are also shifting to younger Americans, according to a recent report.
Data was analyzed from more than 6 million cancer cases from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results [SEER] database, which is overseen by the National Cancer Institute. The study covered new diagnoses between 2000 and 2016.
According to the report, the increasing incidence of cancer in younger patients was particularly pronounced in six of the 12 obesity-related cancers, including those of the colon, uterus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas, and multiple myeloma- a bone marrow cancer.
Typically diagnosed in those over age 65, rates of these cancers are now rising faster among younger age groups than older ones.
“We were struck by the shift in obesity-associated cancers to people in the 20 to 49 age group, but most notably to those in the 50 to 64 age range,” said Siran Koroukian, Ph.D., of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Keep in mind that the population aged 50 to 64 increased in number by nearly 52% in that time frame, so the absolute numbers of people affected by these changes are substantial.”
Because cancers are usually diagnosed at later, less treatable stages in younger people, this trend could stall or even reverse years of progress in reducing cancer deaths, Koroukian said.
Their report was recently published in JAMA Network Open.