PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Research done in Florida shows an increase in the past decade in the number of younger people being diagnosed with cancer echoing numbers seen nationwide.
A new medical report out of Florida highlighted a 15 percent increase in the rate of cancer in people ages 20 to 39 from 2010 to 2020 with breast cancer being the most common cancer in that age range, as well as thyroid cancer and melanoma.
The findings are largely consistent with national trends that show increased cancer diagnoses in people under 50 especially for breast cancer and colon cancer and higher early cancer rates in women than in men.
Screening ages for both types of cancer were recently lowered. In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the recommended age to start colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45 years.
For women like Lauren Dages, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, the news can come out of the blue.
“I was completely shocked mainly because there wasn’t any type of strong cancer history in my family that I knew of and I missed a lot of the early warning signs. It wasn’t on my radar at all,” said Dages.
And for Markeeta Morrow, who got her breast cancer diagnosis at age 33 and is now cancer-free, she’s hoping to get the message out that it can happen to anyone.
“It is very important to be aware of your body, making sure that you are taking care of yourself, eating healthy, exercising and doing self-exams to make sure that if anything changes or if there’s something going on with your body, you can find it and you can be an advocate for yourself,” said Morrow.
Researchers can’t explain the rise but modern diets, antibiotic use and even fungal infections have all been suggested as factors, but that would not explain why Florida’s rates are rising so quickly.