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Millennials at Twice the Risk of Getting Cancer than Their Parents and Grandparents Were

Written by Dr. Daliah Wachs
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A recent study published in the Lancet finds Millennials to be at much higher risk for cancer than their parents and grandparents ever were.

Those born between 1981 and 1997 appear to be at increased risk of cancer of the:

  • colon
  • pancreas
  • uterus
  • bone marrow
  • gallbladder
  • kidney
  • and more.

Study authors cite obesity as the main culprit.

The CDC reports the prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults aged 20 to 39 years.

In 2016 the International Agency for Research and Cancer listed multiple cancers in which obesity plays a role.  They include the above as well as breast, ovarian, and esophageal cancer.

Why is obesity linked to cancer?

Studies have found obesity to alter hormone levels which could incite cells to rapidly divide. Fat acts as if it's another organ, inducing signals that can affect insulin, sugar and fat metabolism and can induce inflammation when it accumulates around other organs.

Moreover it could be an associative relationship in which those who are obese may have poor diets and exercise habits which are linked to cancer as well.

In the above study, non-obesity related cancer, such as lung, appears to be at less risk for millennials as many are saying no to tobacco products.

However, other causes could be at play such as radiation exposure.  The verdict is not yet out on vaping either.

Study authors state:

IMPORTANTLY, THE FINDINGS SUGGEST THE NEED FOR FURTHER CLOSE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL MONITORING OF CANCER INCIDENCE TRENDS IN YOUNGER ADULTS AND HIGHLIGHT THE NEED FOR RIGOROUS AETIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF EXPOSURES THAT COULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TRENDS.
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