HOUSTON (KIAH) – Cancer rates among adults 50 and under made a sharp increase over the past 30 years, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Key findings include:

  • Women ages 30-39 saw the biggest spike in cancer rates
  • Breast cancer had the highest number of incident cases
  • Gastrointestinal cancers had the fastest-growing incidence rates among all early-onset cancers

While the majority of worldwide cancer cases are still in those over the age of 65, the experts at Baylor Scott and White said the study didn’t point to any causes for the increase in early on-set cancer, acknowledging the answer is likely complex.

“It can also be related to how our immune system works and what our daily habits are. Are we getting enough sleep? The study did specifically ask the question of whether sleep could be having a factor here. So, there’s many things that contribute to cancer risk,” said Dr. Tresa M. McNeal.