Expert Doctors: These 4 Cancers Are Rising for Adults of All Ages

Updated: Jan. 29, 2024

According to a new report, the number of U.S. cancer diagnoses is projected to break records in 2024. Here are some risk factors to have on-radar, according to experts.

The good news: Deaths from cancer have steadily lowered over the past 30 years, speaking to the power of medical advancements and consumer awareness about the importance of check-ups and screenings. On the other hand, the diagnosis of cancer is increasing, especially among younger American adults. According to an American Cancer Society (ACS) report published January 17, 2024, this could be the first year we see more than 2 million cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States.

Broken down another way, this means an average of 5,500 new cancer cases could be diagnosed every day. The American Cancer Society’s report warns that this trend could reverse as more cancers are increasing, some correlated with excess weight.

Also, different groups are seeing higher cancer diagnosis rates than they were before. While people over 65 years old have traditionally been the demographic diagnosed with the highest concentration of cancer cases, that’s shifting. The report highlights the concerning rise of colorectal cancer in younger adults, a group that includes Americans under age 50. This type of cancer is now the first-leading cause of cancer death in men under age 50, and the second in women in the same age group.

Younger women, meaning those between the ages of 30 and 44, are contending with increased rates of cervical cancer. Women are also being diagnosed with more cases of liver cancer, and oral cancers are increasing largely from prior HPV infections, though the HPV vaccine could reduce this trend in the future.

The report also highlights concerning racial disparities in cancer treatment and diagnosis, calling them “striking and persistent.” African-American men have a 19% higher risk of dying from cancer versus white men, which the report suggests is largely attributed to prostate cancer, a highly treatable disease. African-American women are also two times more likely to succumb to endometrial cancer than white women. American Indian and Alaska Native populations see striking disparities in cancer mortality. “These populations have been subject to racial discrimination for hundreds of years,” said Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, an author of the report and senior scientific director of cancer surveillance research at the American Cancer Society. “The resulting inequality in wealth has resulted in less access to fresh food, safe places to live and exercise, and receipt of high-quality cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.”

It’s another reminder that early detection and treatment are key for all age groups. Cancer can be prevented by quitting smoking, keeping up with doctor’s appointments and screenings for cancer and other conditions, and exploring treatment options with your healthcare provider.