Obesity-Related Cancer Rates Are Rising Among Millennials

Obesity has more than doubled in the United States over the last four decades

They had complete data from 25 states that represent about two thirds of the USA population.

According to Berger, who runs a lab focused on obesity and cancer, one likely theory is that some of those hormones match receptors in certain cancers but not others, thus stimulating tumor growth in cancers that are a good fit. This is 5.6 times higher than the 0.77 per cent in those aged 45 to 49.

"The quality of the American diet has worsened in recent decades", said lead author Hyuna Sung, also of the American Cancer Society. They looked at the rates of 30 different cancers, including the 12 obesity-related cancers, and 18 other cancers that have not been tied to obesity, such as lung and skin cancer.

Patients were divided into five-year age groups from 25-29 to 80-84 years old.

And they found steeper rises in successively younger generations aged 25 to 49 - and particularly in millennials, in their 20s and 30s.

Dr Ahmedin Jemal, from the American Cancer Society, said: 'Our findings expose a recent change that could serve as a warning of an increased burden of obesity-related cancers to come in older adults. Not everyone who gets these cancers is overweight either, and not everyone who is obese will necessarily get these cancers.

This is because fat cells are active in the body, releasing hormones and electrical signals which encourage cells to divide and grow.

Cancer is caused by an error in cell division which results in them multiplying uncontrollably and building up into tumours.

The researchers analyzed data from a central database of state cancer registries, focusing on new diagnoses between 1995-2014 of 30 types of cancer, 12 of which are associated with excess weight.

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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 Monday by the American Cancer Society.

'On the eve of World Cancer Day, it's timely to consider what can be done to avert the impending rise'. And while we don't yet know exactly how obesity may be driving up cancer rates, it's "critically important" to see observational studies that that show an association between the two, he noted.

But for six of the 12 obesity-related cancers - colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas and multiple myeloma there was a steady increase in incidence over the years, with larger increases in younger adults. Rates of some of these same cancers also increased among older adults, but the increases were much smaller, the researchers said. The two cancers not associated with obesity that rose in the younger age groups were gastrointestinal cancer and leukemia, a blood cancer.

Take pancreatic cancer for example, typically diagnosed in people over age 65.

In the youngest age group, 25 to 29 years, it was 4.3 per cent.

"The future burden of these cancers might be exacerbated as younger cohorts age, potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades", the authors write.

'Younger generations are experiencing earlier and longer-lasting exposure to excess fat and to obesity-related health conditions that can increase cancer risk'.

Experts said more research is needed to explore what is causing the rising rates because this study does not prove obesity is the only reason.

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