Cancer mystery as cases rise among younger people around the world

3 April 2023
A scanning electron micrograph of cancer cells in the intestine  STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

When it comes to cancer research, we regularly hear good news about the number of people benefiting from advances in treatment. But there is one bad news story about the condition that gets little attention. For three decades, there has been a gradual rise in the number of people under 50 being diagnosed with – and we don’t entirely know why.

The rise is steepest in , but an increase in incidences is happening with tumours of nearly all the major organs of the body. It is so alarming that it was made a top priority for research in a joint UK-US cancer funding review earlier this month. So, what might the causes be?

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