A new cancer study has revealed a concerning 79% increase in new cases of cancer among individuals under the age of 50, across 200 countries, including India. This alarming rise has been observed over a span of 30 years. The research calls for understanding the causes, encouraging early screening, and making preventive lifestyle changes, especially considering the high burden of early-onset breast cancer, oesophageal, and prostate cancers.
Causes of the Increase
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (Oncology), cites poor lifestyle choices, pollution, and sedentary behavior as the main triggers contributing to this increase. Dr. Amit Bhargava, Director of Medical Oncology at Fortis Cancer Institute, explains that most malignancies are lifestyle-related, and early onset is directly connected to smoking, vaping, alcohol consumption, junk and processed foods, low physical activity, and pollutants found in the air—such as sulphur, cadmium, and industrial pollutants—all of which are carcinogenic.
In addition, Dr. MD Ray, Professor and Cancer Surgeon at AIIMS, Delhi, highlights the role estrogen plays in early-onset breast cancer. The hormone’s levels increase due to sedentary lifestyles, causing molecular dysfunction that alters a cell’s DNA. Apart from lifestyle choices, family history can increase the risk by 5-10%.
How Chemical Toxins And Byproducts Lead To Cancer
Chemical toxins and byproducts enter our bodies and irritate the mucosa, the soft cellular lining along our organs and blood vessels, causing it to change over time. This leads to defective cell processes, which in turn has the potential to develop into cancer. BRCA mutations, which are linked to toxic products in our bodies, further increase the risk for breast and prostate cancers.
The Importance Of Early Screening
Dr. Pankaj Malhotra, Professor and Head of Clinical Haematology and Medical Oncology at PGIMER, Chandigarh, emphasizes the benefits of early detection and appropriate treatment, potentially curing around one-third of all cancer cases. Early screening is crucial for high-risk individuals, such as those with a family history of cancer and certain comorbidities. However, screening should be done by the age of 40 for Indians without any risk factors.
The Role of Awareness and Lifestyle Modifications
Increased awareness and early intervention can significantly improve cancer outcomes. For instance, 45% of women now get tested early enough for breast cancer and are diagnosed at stage 1 and 2. Dr. Bhargava believes that awareness can change the scenario for cancer rates in younger populations, and that adopting a healthier lifestyle, with regular physical activity and more nutritious food choices, can substantially reduce the risk of cancer.
In conclusion, the increasing incidence of cancer among people under 50 highlights the urgency for regular screening, particularly for high-risk individuals, as well as the need for preventive measures through healthier and more active lifestyles.
Why ImmunoKnifeTM Cancer Therapy?