"The findings from this study are a warning for increased burden of obesity-related cancer in older adults in the future", said Jemal, "potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades".
Now, according to a latest study, obesity increases the risk of developing cancer in young adults.
"Obesity is now one of the most preventable causes of cancer in the United States and UK - around 1 in 12 cases in the U.S. are caused by excess weight, and more than 1 in 20 in the UK". This was true for half of the 12 cancers classified as related to obesity: colorectal, uterine corpus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer).
It's not possible to definitively attribute the recent cancer increases to obesity - but the new report notes that the upticks in cancer for young people coincided with a doubling in rates of childhood and adolescent obesity between 1980 and 2014, making weight a likely contributor. Worryingly, the risk of colorectal, uterine and gallbladder cancers has also doubled for millennials compared to baby boomers when they were the same age. The researchers believe that the increase is tied to the prevalence of obesity in the country and among young people.
Several years ago, the authors of the current study identified increases in early onset colorectal cancer in the USA, a trend that has been observed in several high-income countries and could partly reflect the obesity epidemic.
'Younger generations are experiencing earlier and longer-lasting exposure to excess fat and to obesity-related health conditions that can increase cancer risk'.
The study, released Monday by the American Cancer Society, found that the risk of cancer is increasing in young adults for half of all obesity-related cancers.
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While the incidences of these cancers also rose in older adults-with the exception of colorectal-the data showed steeper increases in successively younger ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, about 630,000 American adults were diagnosed with cancer linked to overweight and obesity across the United States.
The incidence remains far lower in younger people - with two 25-49 year olds per 100,000 getting pancreatic cancer a year, compared to 37 per 100,00 in 50-84 year olds - but the trend is concerning, researchers said.
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "There was a time when Type 2 diabetes used to be considered a mid-life disease triggered by our obesity epidemic". They extended that analysis by examining recent age-specific trends in 30 types of cancers, including 12 known to be associated with obesity.
Obesity is one of the most common problem which gives rise to different students.
The current study did not include data on obesity and can only infer a link between obesity and rising cancer rates, says Schwartz. "We need, as a society, to figure out ways to prevent, much more effectively than we do now, individuals from developing obesity".
"But in the future, obesity could reverse that progress", co-author Jemal cautioned.