YOUNG people are now more at risk of developing cancer than ever before.
The likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer before the age of 50 significantly increases the younger you are, a major analysis suggests.
For example, people born in 1960 have a higher cancer risk before they turn 50 than people born in 1950.
Experts believe this is because of major changes to the average Western person's diet and lifestyle over the last several decades.
This includes increased alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, eating lots of highly processed foods, drinking sugary drinks and higher incidences of smoking.
Children in particular are getting far less sleep today than they were a few decades ago, researchers explained.
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Diseases which increase your risk of cancer, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity have also shot up since the 1950s.
Around five million people in the UK have diabetes – with 90 per cent of cases where people have type 2 diabetes, caused by unhealthy lifestyles.
The NHS estimates that around one in every four adults and around one in every five children in the UK are obese.
Researchers, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, believe higher rates of cancer among young people will "continue to climb in successive generations".
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According to the research, in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, eight of the 14 cancers increasing in the under 50s have a clear link with our declining gut health and poor diet.
Some cancers that have surged among young people include breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, and pancreas.
Previous studies have suggested snacking on ultra-processed foods can shorten your life by putting you at higher risk of other illnesses such as dementia and heart disease.
The latest research, analysed global data on 14 cancer types that appeared to be becoming more prevent in adults under 50.
Then the team looked at available studies that examined trends of possible risk factors on early onset cancer.
The team acknowledged that this increase of certain cancer types is, in part, due to better screening programmes that have only become available in recent years.
However, they noted that the increase of many of the 14 cancer types is unlikely due to better screening programmes alone.
The 12 ways to spot cancer – according to the NHS
Cancer symptoms can be broad-ranging and can often mask as everyday illnesses like a cold or flu.
But it's always better to err on the side of caution if you have any of these symptoms, which according to the NHS could be a sign of cancer:
1. Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
2. Changes in bowel habits
7. Unexplained weight loss
8. Tummy or back pain
9. Indigestion and heartburn
10. Itchy or yellow skin
11. Feeling tired and unwell
Meanwhile, a cancer patient given two months to live is now free of the disease after being given a drug so experimental it is yet to be named.
Retired teacher Eliana Keeling, 65, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2020 and told a year later that her cancer was terminal.
But she refused to accept it was the end and started a clinical trial at The Christie cancer centre a month later.
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She was in remission within six months, allowing her to have a bone marrow transplant.
The trial involved the drug azacytidine and an experimental treatment.
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