Aspirus Media Center

The Rise of Early-Onset Cancer in Young Americans

Aspirus noticing increase in cancer prevalence in younger patients


Christopher Platta, MD, Aspirus Radiation Oncologist

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged in the United States. A 2023 study reveals that certain types of cancer are being diagnosed more frequently among younger adults.  


Aspirus Health's data over the past three years aligns with this national trend, showing a steady increase in patient visits related to cancer treatments among 30 to 39-year-olds. These trends have researchers looking into connections between cancer rates and biological aging. 


“We generally think of chronological aging in numbers,” said Christopher Platta, MD, Aspirus Radiation Oncologist. “Biologic aging not only takes into account age, but also lifestyle factors such as physical activity, smoking and blood pressure.”


Aspirus data indicates that younger cancer patients are receiving treatment more frequently, but providers say they’ve also noticed an increase in the number of younger cancer patients. 


“What we’re seeing here in the Aspirus system is consistent with what other centers are seeing around the nation,” Dr. Platta said. 


To counteract this trend, medical professionals such as Dr. Platta recommend simple but effective lifestyle changes: maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and reduce processed food intake. These measures, aimed at combating the rise in early-onset cancer, emphasize prevention and healthy living as key strategies.


The best way to prevent and detect the spread of certain types of cancer is through screening. People at higher risk of developing cancer may want to start getting annual screenings earlier than the average recommended age. Talk to your primary care doctor; they’ll provide recommendations and help you schedule a screening, if needed.


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