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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cancers fueled by obesity are on the rise among young adults in the United States and appearing at increasingly younger ages, according to a report released Monday by the American Cancer Society. Obesity has already been linked to increasing rates of diabetes, heart disease and knee replacements, and now, this new research suggests cancer can be added to the list of dangers linked to being overweight.
The new analysis from the American Cancer Society, tracking dozens of state registries, finds an increasing cancer risk for millennials and Generation Xers who are obese.
“This is sadly, as one might expect, as rates of obesity go up and they portend a high risk of health challenges in the years ahead,” said Dr. Clifford Hudis, of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The study shows a surprising jump fox six obesity-related cancers in young adults 25-49 years old: colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic and cancer of the bone marrow.
The risk of gallbladder, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers in millennials was about double the rate that baby boomers faced at the same age.
While death rates for most cancers have been on the decline for decades, doctors are concerned this new trend could reverse that progress.
“The amazing thing that’s happened in the last couple of years is that with the rise in obesity and decline in tobacco use, obesity is slated to overtake tobacco to become the single most common cause of cancer, modifiable cause of cancer,” said Hudis.
Experts point out it’s possible to buck the trend by eating healthier and working out more at an earlier age.
The World Health Organization warns obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with millennials on track to being one of the heaviest generations on record.