A startling rise in cancer cases among young Americans is setting off alarm bells among health officials and experts who say recent studies from reputable sources have revealed a troubling trend that demands immediate attention and action.
One study points out that a nationwide cohort study found that the incidence of early-onset cancers continued to increase in the US from 2010 to 2019, while New Jersey, in particular, is experiencing a noticeable increase in cancer cases among its young population.
Another study in JAMA Network Open, a medical journal published by the American Medical Association, showed that while cancers among older adults have declined, cancers among people younger than 50 have increased slightly overall, with the largest increases among those aged 30 to 39.
While cancer affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and sexes, it does not affect all groups equally. Differences in genetics, healthy choices, environmental exposures, and other factors can lead to differences in risk among groups of people.
For most cancers, increasing age is the most important risk factor. Overall, 58% of cancers were found in adults aged 65 years or older. The percentage of cases by age group varied by racial and ethnic group.
While overall, males have a higher rate of cancer than females, this differs by age. Among children younger than 15 years, boys have a slightly higher rate of getting cancer than girls.
Among adolescents and young adults between 15 and 39 years old and adults between 40 and 54 years old, women have a higher rate of getting cancer than men. Among adults aged 55 years or older, men have a higher rate of getting cancer than women.
In 2020, the latest year for which incidence data are available, in the United States, 1,603,844 new cases of cancer were reported, and 602,347 people died of cancer.
For every 100,000 people, 403 new cancer cases were reported and 144 people died of cancer in the United States, compared with 443.3 new cancer cases per 100,000 population in New Jersey, where 50,346 cancer cases were reported.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. One of every five deaths in the United States is due to cancer.
In New Jersey, 69.9 percent of patients will not have died from their cancer five years after diagnosis, while the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in the United States is 67 percent.