Why is cancer on the rise in young adults?

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Researchers looking for clues about why some types of cancer are on the rise in younger adults say they’ve found an interesting lead: a connection to accelerated biological aging.

Aging is the major risk for many types of cancer, meaning the older you get, the more likely you are to be diagnosed. And increasingly, experts recognize that age is more than just the number of candles on a birthday cake. It’s also the wear and tear on the body, caused by lifestyle, stress and genetics, which is sometimes referred to as a person’s biological age.

“We all know cancer is an aging disease. However, it is really coming to a younger population. So whether we can use the well-developed concept of biological aging to apply that to the younger generation is a really untouched area,” said Dr. Yin Cao, an associate professor of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and senior author of the new research, which was presented Sunday at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual conference in San Diego.

Cao and her team looked at the medical records of 148,724 people ages 37 to 54 who are participants in a large data registry called the UK Biobank.

They homed in on nine blood-based markers that have been shown to correlate with biological age.

These nine values were then plugged into an algorithm called PhenoAge that was used to calculate each person’s biological age. The researchers determined accelerated aging by comparing people’s biological ages with their chronological ages.

They then checked cancer registries to see how many in the group had been diagnosed with early cancers, which the researchers defined as cancers appearing before age 55. There were nearly such 3,200 cancers diagnosed.

The researchers found that people born in 1965 or later were 17% more likely to show accelerated aging than those born from 1950 through 1954.

Read more at CNN.com

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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!