CANCER IN YOUNG ADULTS
Cancer is being increasingly found in young adults of 30 years and above.
A large percentage of cancers in young adults are due to poor dietary intake and being overweight and obese.
Excess body weight could account up to 60% of all endometrial cancers, 36% of gallbladder cancers, 33% of kidney cancers, 17% of pancreatic cancers, and 11% of multiple myeloma.
Childhood and adolescent obesity are found to have increased risk of colorectal, endometrial, and pancreatic cancers with multiple myeloma.
Having diabetes, gallstones, inflammatory bowel disease, and poor diet in young adults contribute to getting cancer at early age.
Poor dietary habits like low intake of fruits and vegetables, and high intake of red meat and processed meats are contributing to increased rates of cancers, worldwide. Low intake of fish, whole grains and high consumption of sodium and sugar sweetened beverages are all contributory to greater incidence of cancer.
Role of Physicians:
BMI is a useful tool to assess obesity or being overweight. Majority of physicians do not assess a patient’s BMI, and majority do not diagnose obesity or advise their patients on losing weight.
Role of Community:
Children and young adults need to be screened periodically for obesity and related health issues. Urban planning for promoting physical activity, regulation on sugar-sweetened beverages, and restriction on their advertising is required as additional measures to stop the obesity epidemic.
Body mass index (BMI) refers to a ratio of a person’s weight and height.
Common causes of obesity include:
- Physical inactivity
- Unhealthy food choices
- Lack of access to healthy foods
- Long periods of sitting
- Poor sleep hygiene
- Use of certain medications
- Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Hormonal imbalances