Health officials in Florida have expressed concern about a sharp increase in cancer cases among young people.
Figures from the Florida Cancer Connect Collaborative showed that the rate of all cancer diagnoses among people in their 20s and 30s increased 15 percent between 2010 and 2020 – three times faster than the national average.
Rates rose faster in women than in men as doctors warned that patients would only be diagnosed at a later stage, when their disease was more advanced and difficult to treat.
Researchers can’t explain the increase, but modern diets, antibiotic use and fungal infections have all been suspected as factors – but that wouldn’t explain why rates are rising so quickly in Florida.
Cancer cases in Florida among those ages 20 to 39 increased 15 percent in the decade from 2010 to 2020
The map above shows the percentage of cancer diagnoses by county in Florida. It highlights that the Miami area has the highest rates
Among the Florida women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age was Domenica Fuller, 29, of Miami, who was preparing for her wedding when she was told she had stage three breast cancer. While attending her wedding, she was undergoing chemotherapy
Madeline Mordarski of Bradenton, near Tampa, was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in November 2022, just a week after her 32nd birthday. She had a lump in her breast
Breast cancer was most common in younger adults and was the leading cause of cancer death, with colorectal cancer and leukemia, among other cancers, growing the fastest.
Dr. Mohamedtaki Tejani, an oncologist at AdventHealth Cancer Institute, told the Orlando Sentinel: “People in their 20s and 30s have.” [with cancer] was rare, and now it’s the norm.
“And what’s really sad is that younger patients typically present with more advanced disease because it’s not on their radar.”
“It’s not on the radar of their primary care physicians.”
Among the young Florida women diagnosed with breast cancer was Domenica Fuller, 29, of Miami, who was preparing for her wedding when she noticed a lump on her left breast.
“I did a breast self-exam, I took a shower and I don’t know why I decided to do it, but I did it,” she said NBC6“and I felt something hard on my left breast”.
“It was just something that felt like a frozen grape in my chest.”
She was diagnosed with stage three ductal carcinoma, meaning the breast cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
She underwent surgery and received four rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to treat the cancer – and one of her rounds of chemotherapy came just before her wedding. She has since been confirmed to be in remission.
Madeline Mordarski of Bradenton, near Tampa, was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in November 2022, just a week after her 32nd birthday.
She had discovered a lump in her left breast which doctors confirmed was cancer.
To treat the cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy and sixteen rounds of chemotherapy. She is now in remission.
Other young women suffering from breast cancer include Amy Dowden, 33, from the UK, who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May.
She discovered a lump in her breast during her honeymoon with husband Ben Jones in April. She recently shared a photo of her shaved head as she received treatment.
Data showed that the overall cancer diagnosis rate among people ages 20 to 39 in Florida in 2010 was 79.4 cases per 100,000 people.
But since 2010, this has increased by around two percent every year. In 2020, the rate was 91.9 cases per 100,000 people.
For women under 50, the rate of diagnoses of all types of cancer increased from 118.6 to 131.5 – or by 11 percent – over the same period.
However, for men under 50, the rate remained stable at around 80 per 100,000 people, according to the report.
Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Amy Dowden, 33, from the UK, has been diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump in her breast during her honeymoon. She is pictured above during cancer treatment
The most common cancer among 20- and 30-year-olds was breast cancer; 6,966 cases were diagnosed between 2010 and 2020.
This cancer was also the most common cause of cancer death in this age group, with 768 deaths.
The next four cancers with the highest cases were thyroid cancer (6,103 cases), melanoma of the skin (3,615), testicular cancer (2,922) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2,774).
However, the cancers that caused the most deaths were different from those with the most cases.
Between 2010 and 2020, leukemia, or blood cancer, was the second leading cause of cancer death in young adults, causing 583 deaths. This was followed by brain cancer (509 deaths), colon cancer (499) and cervical cancer (399).
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, 43, founded the Florida Cancer Connect Collaborative earlier this year to collect and analyze data on cancer and identify trends in the state to improve treatments.
The organization collects data from the state’s cancer incidence database, which relies on data provided by hospitals.
Pictured above is Casey DeSantis with her husband Ron as she discusses her battle with breast cancer
Ms. DeSantis, who battled breast cancer herself in 2021, wrote in the report: “Cancer can affect anyone and is often unexpected.”
“When you or a loved one are going through the battle with this terrible disease, it is an emotional and overwhelming time.”
Ms. DeSantis achieved remission in March 2022 after treatment with chemotherapy, radiation and three surgeries.
The increase in cancer cases among people ages 20 to 39 in Florida reflects a trend seen nationwide.
In the United States, the rate of cancer diagnoses for all types of the disease increased from 86 cases per 100,000 adults in this age group in 2010 to 89.6 cases per 100,000 in 2019.
The number fell to 82.7 in 2020, the most recent data available, although this is likely due to the Covid pandemic, which led to fewer diagnoses as many people missed check-ups, avoided medical facilities and canceled doctor’s appointments.
Of particular concern is colon cancer, which is often only detected in the late stages – when it is much more difficult to treat.
Among adults in their 20s and 30s, colorectal cancer rates rose from 4.8 to 6.2 cases per 100,000 – or by 30 percent – in the decade to 2020.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the mortality rate also increased slightly from 1.0 to 1.1 per 100,000.
But a study published in JAMA In 2021, it was estimated that in just seven years, colorectal cancer would be the leading cause of death among people ages 20 to 49.
While doctors are still studying why colon cancer cases are increasing, they suspect it is due to overuse of antibiotics and fungal infections in the intestines.
Overuse of antibiotics could trigger the disease because it can lead to an imbalance of microbes in the gut, increasing the likelihood of dangerous bacteria or fungi taking hold that could damage cells.
As for the rising rates of other cancers across the country, i.eDoctors are confused but suspect this could be due to a sedentary lifestyle, western diet and alcohol consumption.