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16 June, 2024
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Accelerated aging linked to rising young adult cancer rates

Study reveals potential connection, prompting further investigation into lifestyle and genetic factors


Researchers investigating the surge in certain cancers among younger adults have uncovered a potential link to accelerated biological aging, according to CNN. The study, presented at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual conference in San Diego, suggests that factors such as lifestyle, stress, and genetics may contribute to biological age, which differs from chronological age.

Dr. Yin Cao, senior author of the research and associate professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, highlighted the significance of this finding, stating that cancer is increasingly affecting younger demographics, prompting a need to explore the concept of biological aging in this population.

The study, which analyzed data from 148,724 individuals aged 37 to 54 enrolled in the UK Biobank, focused on nine blood-based markers associated with biological age. These markers were used to calculate each participant's biological age using an algorithm called PhenoAge, allowing researchers to identify accelerated aging by comparing biological and chronological ages.

Results showed that individuals born after 1965 were 17% more likely to exhibit accelerated aging compared to those born between 1950 and 1954. Moreover, accelerated aging was linked to an increased risk of early-onset cancers, particularly lung, stomach, intestinal, and uterine cancers.

While the study provides valuable insights, Dr. Cao acknowledges its limitations, including the lack of longitudinal data and the need for further research to validate these findings in diverse populations. Nonetheless, experts like Dr. Anne Blaes from the University of Minnesota find the results promising, suggesting that identifying individuals at higher risk due to accelerated aging could lead to targeted screening and lifestyle interventions, potentially including medications designed to slow down aging processes.

Further research is needed to fully understand the implications of accelerated biological aging on cancer risk and to explore potential interventions for at-risk individuals.

Source: CNN

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