People are getting older and older. Above all, life expectancy in Western industrialized countries is rising. This also increases the number of cancer cases since this disease is more common among the elderly. But apparently more and more younger people are also suffering from cancer, as a study now shows.
Number of cancer incidents rising worldwide
The World Cancer Review of the International Agency for Cancer Research( IARC) warned of a surge in cancer. According to experts, 20 million new cases could occur annually until 2025.Also in Germany there are more and more cancer diseases. The number of new cases has almost doubled since 1970.The main reason for the rise in cancer worldwide is the growing life expectancy - cancer is more common among the elderly.
More and more adolescents with cancer
According to World Health Organization( WHO) forecasts, 21.6 million new cancer cases are expected worldwide by 2030 per year. In 2012 it was 14 million. Cancer deaths are also expected to rise from 8.2 to 13 million a year.
Although cancer is more common in old age, scientific research has shown that more and more younger people are also suffering from cancer.
Thus, experts also reported to the UK recently about an evaluation that revealed that cancer-related diseases in childrendramatically.
And a long-term study by the Department of Public Health and the Lowell Center of Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts( USA) showed an increase in cancer among teenagers between 15 and 19 years of more than 25 percent.
The scientists now published their results in specialist magazine "PLOS ONE".
Strongest increase in lymph node cancer
In order to arrive at their results, researchers from Jessica Burkhammer, David Kriebel and Richard Clapp evaluated data from the SEER cancer registry.
As the German Foundation for Young Adults with Cancer reported on their website, the researchers observed an increase in diagnosed illnesses of more than 25 percent( 0.67 percent annually for young men and 0.62 percent for the period from 1975 to 2012)for young women).
The development is therefore different for individual diagnoses. For example, the largest annual incidence increases were observed in the case of lymph node cancer( non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) with 2.16 per cent for men and 1.38 per cent for young women.
Thyroid cancer( annual plus 2.12 per cent in young women, plus 1.59 per cent in young men), acute bone marrow leukemia in young women( annually plus 1.73 per cent) and testicular cancer( annually plus 1.55 per cent).Hodgkin's disease was receding over the period observed in both sexes.
Small comparable studies from Germany
The cause of the changes is unclear. In thyroid cancer, better diagnostic methods may play a role.
Because of the steady increase over all years, however, the authors consider a general explanation by methodological changes in medicine as unlikely and discuss environmental influences.
There are no comparable studies from Germany."We have a regrettable deficit here. The now released data from the US should also lead to increased research efforts in Germany, "said Prof. Dr.med. Mathias Freund, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the German Foundation for Young Adults with Cancer.
The authors of the US study stressed the great importance that the identification of causes for the rise in cancer of teenagers for society would have.(ad)