Increase of cancer in younger adults traced to accelerated aging


I suspect that the additional stress that young people are under (i.e., student debt, inability to buy a home, gig work without benefits, etc) is causing the premature aging.



Could be that attending schools with an awareness since kindergarten that a madman could burst in at any moment and mow down 21 kids like a horrific video game while you try to read The Cat in the Hat or Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing messes with your head.

America is raising its own generations of future terrorists by exposing young kids to these kinds of fears that result in them remaining in a low grade but continuous fight-or-flight mode. Such environments destroy attention spans required for learning and impair the ability to bond with others and develop empathy.



There is an obvious suspect for this increase in cancer among younger people.


Three facts connect obesity, aging, and cancer.

  1. Obesity is increasing rapidly among the young. Study: Diabetes and obesity are on the rise in young Americans : NPR

  2. Obesity accelerates aging in children and young adults.
    Obesity and accelerated epigenetic aging in a high-risk cohort of children | Scientific Reports

  3. About 4–8% of all cancers are attributed to obesity.,cancers%20are%20attributed%20to%20obesity.


There is correlation, no doubt, but obesity is not the cause. Most likely insulin resistance is higher in the list of causes and insulin resistance itself is caused by poor diets, glucose heavy diets that insulin tries to combat.

Like Sherlock Holmes, look for the root cause, what is setting the chain in motion. Otherwise you are treating symptoms instead of causes. The healthcare industry loves to treat chronic symptoms, they are gold mines. Eat right and the healthcare industry suffers.

Of course, eating wrong has its causes… Oh well… :imp:

The Captain


Fat throws off the hormones which can cause cancer.

Other issues with plastic may exist because doing damage to the organs while consuming food may be dangerous.

Interesting point.

Cancer results from one or more mutations. The human body is generally good at repairing mutations, but this ability declines with age. That is one reason cancer risk increases with age.

Can age be seen as a cause of cancer? I think so, in the same way that the advanced age of a tire can be seen as the cause of a blowout.

And since obesity accelerates aging I think it fair to say that obesity causes cancer. The analogy would be under-inflated tires age prematurely, which in turn causes flat tires. Therefore, under-inflating tires cause flat tires.

It seems like just a minor semantic squabble. But how one defines “cause” impacts important stuff like whether gun makers or gun sellers can be held responsible for gun crime. Or whether fast foods cause obesity.

Gun users are responsible, same as car owners are responsible for their cars. So, mandatory insurance for guns. Gun mfrs will have NOTHING to do with gun buyer/user insurance because they know it is a “no-win” situation for them.

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While car accidents (and very rare intentional acts) can result in deaths, that is not the intention of their design. On the other hand, guns are specifically designed to kill.

I think it’s time to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and let the lawyers have at it. It’s about time we let the lawyers do something useful (with apologies to albaby1, who is almost always useful :sunglasses:).

Ouch. I was hoping that this would trigger younger people, as they wrest power away from us old farts, to enact some serious gun control laws.


This looks as if it would be an interesting study to read if the primary document were available. Just varying iterations of the press release at themoment…which isn’t too much of a surprise. The article linked in the OP actually states that it’s from a presentation at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual conference. However, there are plenty of other articles that discuss the phenomenon that’re unrelated to this particular article. For but one…

Per the article upstream, one of the limitations to the research I’ve read via a quote from one of the authors is that the data presented are from the UK Biobank…a huge database that’s frequently accessed for data mining purposes…and that the results may not correspond with different ethnic groups.

Thing is, the ethnic groups that’re being included in the Biobank and who’re being analysed for the biomarkers associated with increased cancer risk are probably noticeably different from the group they’re being compared with…folk born between 1950 and 1954. So, in addition to quite a dramatic increase in the incidence of childhood obesity in later years, the demographic has become more ethnically mixed over a relatively short space of time.

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Throw in the poor got poorer regardless of changes in the ethnic mix or not. Supply-side economics has been killing a lot of people all along.


Just to follow up. It appears that while obesity and processed foods remain the obvious candidates there is a growing feeling that other factors are involved. From Nature:

The prominence of gastrointestinal cancers and the coincidence with dietary changes in many countries point to the rising rates of obesity and diets rich in processed foods as likely culprits in contributing to rising case rates. But statistical analyses suggest that these factors are not enough to explain the full picture, says Daniel Huang, a hepatologist at the National University of Singapore. “Many have hypothesized that things like obesity and alcohol consumption might explain some of our findings,” he says. “But it looks like you need a deeper dive into the data.”
Why are so many young people getting cancer? What the data say.

From JAMA:

The increase in early-onset cancers is likely associated with the increasing incidence of obesity as well as changes in environmental exposures, such as smoke and gasoline,9 sleep patterns, physical activity, microbiota, and transient exposure to carcinogenic compounds.10-14

Nevertheless, the evidence linking obesity to early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is pretty strong:

Conclusions: Obesity at early adulthood is strongly associated with increased risk of early-onset CRC. German Clinical Trials Register ID: DRKS00011793 Associations of Body Mass Index at Different Ages With Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer - PubMed

From the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center:

While the team found unique genetic risk factors, Peters said, they don’t explain the rise of colorectal cases in people under 50. Instead, the findings point to alcohol consumption and obesity as two important, but modifiable, risk factors.

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Just saw my first TV ad about getting a lapiplasty. Guess the web site name (LOL).



No. The problem I see is the choice of words. Just because the body loses its efficacy in fixing itself, as you stated above, does not translate into an active causative. My next door neighbour, who lived to be 105 and at 100 danced at his birthday party, never had cancer.

Same problem, obesity might be aid and abet cancer but it’s not causative. All there is is correlation.

I would not call it minor. If obesity were the true cause of cancer we would need to treat obesity, if it is not the cause we would be only treating a symptom. How would we treat old age? Why should we treat Marcel, my centenarian next door neighbor?

BTW, Marcel had the best medicine, when asked, “How are you, Marcel?” he would invariably reply, “If we are alive we are well.”

The Captain

As a side note, in the insurance business it is very important to discover the true root cause of any claim. For example, say your house burns down and it is insured against fire, are you automatically entitled to be reimbursed? NO! Depends on why or how the fire started.

  • If you started the fire by accident - yes
  • If you started the fire intentionally - no
  • If the fire was stared by a warlike action and war is excluded - no

Maybe it was my time selling insurance that made me a stickler for semantics.


Terrible semantics! “Obesity” and “Diets rich in processed foods” are not the same thing, they need to be treated separately.

Does “Obesity” cause “Diets rich in processed foods?”
Does “Diets rich in processed foods” cause “Obesity?”

The Captain

It’s great that your time as an insurance salesman produced such an appreciation of the importance of semantics. Accuracy of terminology is very important in the scientific world. I doubt it did the same for your understanding of the pathophysiology of disease/cancer development or the awareness of the technological developments and the research that’s produced a greater understanding of cell biology in this field.

As mentioned upstream (Leap, I believe), excess accumulation of bodyfat is no longer seen asjust an ugly face or an inert storage unit for the product of an individual’s overeating…but rather a metabolically active organ. A regular production powerhouse for inflammatory cytokines, hormones and adipokines. Sometime in the mid aughts, I stumbled upon a website maintained by a retired pathologist in England that was dedicated solely to explaining the roles these proteins actually had in the body. I think his interst was piqued with the discovery of leptin in the early 1990s and it grew to match the increasing numbers of these.

For but one well identified mode of action, a good many of these adipokines promote cell proliferate…in a way mimicking the passage of time and the number of cell divisions and consequent increase in “mistakes” that occur.

Here’s a fairly comprehensive review (says she, euphemistically)…

The Role of Adipokines in Health and Disease - PMC.


On the other hand, when it comes to setting the price of premiums, insurance companies seem to define “cause” differently. The older the roof, the more expensive home insurance gets. Apparently age causes something that makes the roof more dangerous.

Its the same with obesity and cancer. Obesity causes something that makes cancer more likely.

My linked articles indicate that many in the medical community believe there is a causal link between obesity and early onset cancers. It is probably not the only cause, but it is probably a significant contributing cause.

Your are misreading the sentence as the subjects are being treated separately. The statement is that the “rising rates of obesity” and “diets rich in processed foods” are contributing to higher rates of early onset cancers.

I was taking a guess about linking obesity, DNA repair, and cancer but a quick search shows that there is evidence for such a linkage. This study found significant DNA irregularities in overweight men associated with reduced DNA repair function that was due to physiological rather than psychological stress. Higher mutation rate is not good.

Our findings point to DNA integrity impairments with increasing BMI, already in the overweight range, and suggest impaired DNA repair as a potential underlying molecular mechanism. In contrast, the psychological factor vital exhaustion was not associated with DNA damage or DNA repair capacity.

A review linking aging, obesity, DNA repair, and cancer can be found here: The Multifaceted Roles of DNA Repair and Replication Proteins in Aging and Obesity - PMC

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Good find, @btresist … appreciate your/the review authors’ donkey work.

It’s also worth noting that, although this (and others upstream) are comparatively recent reviews, they are, in fact, reviewing reproducible data stretching back at least a couple of decades (yes, I took advantage of the references to clarify a few points) So, although this insight mind be “new” news to you (read “any one of us”), it’s manifestly not that new to those with good cause to know what they’re talking about…random blathering about “semantics” and whatnot notwithstanding.

A bit like me and forensic accounting and/or impression management, in a way. Being something of a n00b to both concepts, I could’ve demonstrated that by showcasing my lack of insight with a random opinion…and then launched into deflection strategies like semantics if challenged…or put it front and center by asking questions (which I wasn’t even sure how to ask initially, such was my ignorance). Seems to me my chosen strategy got me more info more quickly than I could’ve snagged any other way.