Under 50 and Cancer: Global Elevation Through a Western Lifestyle

Under 50 and Cancer: Global Elevation Through a Western Lifestyle

The research is published in the scientific journal BMJ Oncology It was published, and it uses data from 204 countries. 29 types of cancer were studied. The results showed that the number of breast cancer diagnoses in particular has increased. Most people died as a result of this type of disease.

Breast cancer is also the most common in the Netherlands, followed by skin cancer and then colon cancer. Cheyenne Ulf, 23, was just 21 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was strange, everyone around me – from the GP to the hospital staff – was in shock,” she says.

Western lifestyle

The diagnosis came completely unexpectedly. “I didn’t immediately think about the fact that I might not grow old or what the future holds for me. Until I was diagnosed, I didn’t even think about the fact that cancer could be the cause of my complaint.”

Compared to the rest of the world, the total number of cancer diagnoses in the Netherlands has risen less quickly in recent years, at 52 percent (compared to 80 percent worldwide). This relates to the number of diagnoses in the 15-50-year-old population. But the same numbers also reflect a worrying increase, experts say.

“One of the main reasons is population growth,” says Otto Visser, of the Dutch Cancer Registry. “In addition, there is a growing association worldwide among groups of people who adopt the Western lifestyle, which increases the risks.”

Western lifestyle which is becoming popular in more and more places is one of the most important observations of the American study. “Changes in diet and increased use of alcohol and tobacco play a role in this,” Visers explains. It is also linked to colon cancer. Weser: “It’s strongly related to dietary habits. The more Western the diet, the higher the risk of colon cancer. Increased obesity is also linked to this.”

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“On the contrary, you see that the number of cases of lung cancer in people under the age of 50 has decreased in the Netherlands as a result of the decrease in the number of smokers,” Visers continues. It is also worth noting that testicular cancer is increasingly being diagnosed. “Testicular cancer is more common in rich countries than in poor ones, but the reason for the large increase in the Netherlands is still unknown,” says Visers.

Cancer treatment

Cheyenne Ulf’s cancer diagnosis made a deep impression in the 1920s. “Nothing can be taken for granted anymore,” Ulf says. “Things like doing leisure activities and shopping, all of that is no longer possible at that time.” After more than a year of treatment in which she received IVF, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, her improvement was announced.

“It was hard to trust my body a little bit again and then fall back again, but I’m going back to school and the future looks bright. I’m glad I can focus on that,” Ulf said.

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