Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Chances of getting cancer for Americans and who is most at risk

Princess Kate’s cancer diagnosis at age 42 shines a light on a dreaded disease that seems to be striking people at younger ages, though it has become more survivable.

Americans have about a 40% chance of developing cancer at some point in their lives. Just under 20% who develop it die from cancer, which is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S.

It is typically considered a disease of aging, with 88% of diagnoses coming in people age 50 and above, according to the American Cancer Society.

But colon cancer is increasing in younger people, according to the National Cancer Institute. Americans born between 1981 and 1996 are at twice the risk for colon cancer as those born in 1950.

Other cancers have also increased in younger adults, though it’s not clear why.

People watch a recording by Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales, outside Kensington Palace in London on March 22, 2024. Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced that she has cancer and was in the early stages of chemotherapy, asking for "time, space and privacy" as she finishes her treatment.

After a diagnosis, people often try to look back to understand how and why they could have gotten sick and what they might have done wrong, said Dr. Ginger Gardner, a gynecologic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Often, they did nothing at all.

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