Cancer Affecting More Millennials Because of Obesity Epidemic

Most of these cancers springing up in young people usually manifest in a person's 60s or 70s.

millennial cancer
Obesity is becoming a leading cause of cancer among young people. (Getty Images)
Getty Images

More and more American millennials at increasingly younger ages are being diagnosed with cancers fueled by obesity in the United States, according to an analysis released Monday by the American Cancer Society.

The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, took a look at statistics on 12 cancers linked to obesity 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, CNN reported.

Six obesity-related cancers showed “startling increases” in prevalence among young people: colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

“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, who is the vice president of the Surveillance and Health Services Research Program for the American Cancer Society.

“The findings from this study are a warning for increased burden of obesity-related cancer in older adults in the future, potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades.”

Overall, the risk of colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers in millennials was about double the rate baby boomers had at the same age, the study found. This may be related, partly, to the rising obesity epidemic found around the world. And millennials are on their way to being one of the heaviest generations on record, according to CNN.

Research in the UK shows at least seven in 10 people born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s will likely be overweight or obese by their mid-30s and 40s. Only five in 10 baby boomers were obese at that same age.

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