The report on the projected record-high cancer cases in 2024 has raised concerns among experts, shedding light on potential causes for the surge. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the estimated 2 million new cancer cases in 2024 mark a 2 percent increase from the 2023 figures.
While the risk of cancer-related deaths has declined, the incidence of cancer has been rising for common types such as breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, and melanoma. Prostate cancer, in particular, is rapidly increasing by 3 percent annually, primarily due to advanced-stage disease diagnosis.
Surprisingly, cancers are also on the rise among younger individuals, including colorectal cancer in those under 55 and cervical cancer in women aged 30 to 44. Additionally, oral cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) and liver cancer in women have seen an uptick.
The ACS’s estimation for 2024 is based on data from 2006 to 2020, and the report acknowledges the lack of information on possible COVID-19 or vaccine-related effects on cancer incidence. Dr. Harvey Risch from Yale University suggests that while the projections may be reliable under normal circumstances, the impact of COVID-19 needs careful consideration.
The report does not currently reflect the potential changes influenced by the pandemic, and researchers expect delays in cancer diagnoses and worse outcomes due to the crisis.
As for reasons behind the increase in cancer cases, overdiagnosis and increased screening are ruled out, with colorectal cancer serving as an example. The obesity epidemic is considered a contributing factor, but it doesn’t fully explain the trend. Hypotheses include changes in diet, alterations in the gut microbiome, antibiotic overuse, and exposure to microplastics.
Stress and changes in sexual behavior are also highlighted, particularly concerning the rise in cervical and oral cancers linked to HPV. Dr. Yuhong Dong emphasizes the impact of early sexual activity and multiple partners in increasing HPV infection rates, which can lead to uncontrolled cell multiplication and cancer.
Concerns are also raised regarding the potential impact of COVID-19 vaccines on cancer susceptibility. Dr. Dong suggests that frequent use of COVID-19 vaccines might make cellular genes vulnerable to cancer. Some experts express worries about the detection of the SV40 promoter/enhancer gene in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, raising concerns about possible cancer interactions. Dr. Wafik El-Deiry from Brown University points out that while the SV40 promoter itself is not a potent cancer-causing element, the spike proteins from the virus and the vaccine may affect common cancer-enhancing pathways, potentially interacting with the p53 gene responsible for preventing cancer in the body. Studies have suggested that the spike protein may suppress p53, increasing the risk of cancer.
In conclusion, the report underscores the complexity of factors contributing to the rising cancer cases, urging further investigation into the potential effects of the pandemic and vaccines on cancer incidence.
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