The Rise of Cancer in Younger Adults: What We Can Do About It

family health health lifestyle May 31, 2024

For a long time, cancer was considered a disease predominantly affecting older adults. However, a study published in 2022 has highlighted a worrying trend: the incidence of cancer in individuals under 50 has been on the rise since the 1990s. This is a stark reality for many in my age group, as more of my peers are being diagnosed with various types of cancer.

Rising Cancer Types in Younger Adults

The study identified several types of cancer that are becoming more common in younger adults, including:

  • Premenopausal breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Esophageal cancer

Sadly, I have known peers who have faced these diagnoses and undergone treatment, and some who have tragically lost their lives.

Facing the Reality Without Fearmongering

While I don’t intend to spread fear or anxiety, it's crucial to acknowledge the environment we live in and how we care for ourselves. No one is immune to the effects of epigenetics—a field studying how our behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way our genes work. We live in a world where everyone's pollution affects each other, where our waste can contaminate other people's water and food supply.

Embracing Preventive Measures

Given these realities, the best we can do is to embrace preventive measures and ensure we are up-to-date with essential health screenings:

  • Pap smears every two years starting at age 21
  • Breast mammography from age 40
  • Stool occult blood testing from age 50

By staying in tune with our bodies, we can better detect signs of disease early on.

Acknowledging Our Environmental Legacy

The bodies we inherit and the Earth we live on have been shaped by decades of environmental and lifestyle factors. Our health is influenced by a myriad of factors including:

  • Breastfeeding history
  • Exposure to indoor air pollution
  • Early life traumas and birth trauma
  • Traffic pollution
  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Chemical exposures
  • The microbiome

Many of these stressors are deeply embedded in our culture and not simply individual choices. They are the result of systemic issues that have been normalized over time.

The Path Forward

Living healthfully is still a novel concept for many, and the work required to shift this mindset is immense. However, there are practical steps we can take. Optimizing key nutrients and understanding the principles of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine can significantly enhance our health, especially in the context of pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum care.

At The Vibrant Life Academy, I teach these principles. If you’re tired of suboptimal health and want to build strong foundations, start with Kickstart Your Immunity. From there, you can deepen your understanding with Level 1 and Level 2 courses. This is pro-level knowledge made accessible to everyone, with a course format that makes it easy to apply meaningfully in your life.

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