Cancer Now a Disease of the 'Young': 8 Ways to Avoid Joining the Alarming Statistics

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.13 - 2024 12:16 PM CET

Health
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
8 Ways to Avoid Joining the Alarming Statistics.

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Scientists have yet to conclusively explain why cancer is increasingly found in younger patients. One thing is clear: it's better to start taking care of your health from a young age.

Decades ago, many were convinced that cancer was a disease that often led to the grave for the elderly. The young were supposedly immune, implying that only the elderly needed to worry about oncology.

However, modern statistics tell a different story. Scientists are sounding the alarm: there is a rising incidence of cancer among people under 50 worldwide.

Why are cancer diagnoses in the young often too late, and what can be done to safeguard oneself? We delve into these questions with oncologist Vladislav Evseev, an expert from the "Not in Vain" foundation.

Youth Does Not Forgive All

As the doctor notes, malignant tumors are indeed more frequently diagnosed in the elderly. However, this does not mean that young people are immune to cancer.

"Annually, about 19.5 million cases of oncological diseases are detected worldwide, with only 3.2 million, less than 20%, occurring in individuals under 50 years of age. Based on this statistic, it can be said that although a smaller number of cases occur in young people, they are not uncommon," explains the oncologist.

Interestingly, age can sometimes play a cruel trick on cancer patients.

"One of the main problems with perceiving cancer as an elderly disease is the complete ignoring or dismissive attitude towards a range of symptoms. The same alarming signs would prompt a doctor to immediately send an elderly person for further examination, while a young person might hear something like 'a minor gastritis, it will pass, nothing serious.'

And patients themselves tend to delay seeking medical help, attributing all symptoms to less frightening diseases. They simply don't think something serious could happen to them.

For example, in colorectal cancer, there are significant delays from the onset of symptoms to seeking medical attention and undergoing examinations. According to some studies, these delays can be six months or more. Meanwhile, valuable time for treatment is lost," notes Evseev.

What Young People Are Dying From

According to Vladislav Evseev, the highest number of young patient deaths from oncological diseases is due to breast cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer.

"Interestingly, there are tumors that have become less common among young patients. For example, the number of liver tumor cases in individuals under 50 is decreasing year by year. This may be related to the availability of effective therapy for chronic viral hepatitis - the main risk factor for primary liver tumors.

There is good news: the number of deaths from oncological diseases is growing significantly slower than the number of detected cases. This means that we are able to effectively treat oncological diseases and save lives.

Statistics also vary significantly from country to country. For example, in the United Arab Emirates, the number of cancer cases under 50 has almost increased tenfold, while in Lithuania, Latvia, and Georgia, it is decreasing," the doctor notes.

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