Early-onset cancer rates rising for people ages 18 to 45

Mar 18, 2024, 9:52 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 9:23 am

Cancers, once considered to be part of the aging process, are now showing up in much younger people...

Cancers, once considered to be part of the aging process, are now showing up in much younger people. These cancers, referred to as Early-Onset cancer, affect patients between the ages of 18 and 49. (Canva)


Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Dr. Sachin Apte’s name. He was previously misidentified as Dr. Sach Apte.

SALT LAKE CITY Cancers, once considered to be part of the aging process, are now showing up in much younger people. These cancers, referred to as early onset cancer, affect patients between the ages of 18 and 49, according to a report from Yale Medical.

“We’re seeing more breast cancer in younger patients as well as uterine also referred to as endometrial cancer and you know, perhaps even some other less common GI cancers such as pancreatic or biliary, ” said Dr. Sachin Apte, chief clinical officer at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

We’re seeing a similar rise here in Utah, he said.  Researchers aren’t sure why we’re seeing a rise in early-onset cancer. But, Apte said it’s critical for families to talk about cancer diagnosis, especially when those cancers were diagnosed in people younger than about 40.

“We know that family history is important because it can sometimes reveal genetic predispositions [or] genetic syndromes that can cause cancer to occur in younger people,” he said.

Related: Global cancer cases will jump 77% by 2050, WHO report estimates

Apte said one of the problems with early-onset cancer is that the regular screenings don’t work well for these patients.

“The screening guidelines such as mammography [are for] age 40, colonoscopy at age 45,” because they’re not given until later in life, he said.

Apte said that’s why it’s important for adults in these age ranges to first, pay attention to their bodies. Second, they should have regular visits with a primary care physician and make sure they discuss any family history with cancer.

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Early-onset cancer rates rising for people ages 18 to 45