Changes in cancer incidence in teenagers and young adults (ages 13 to 24 years) in England 1979‒2003

Authors

  • Robert D. Alston BSc, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cancer Research UK Pediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, University of Manchester, Stancliffe, Manchester, United Kingdom
    • Cancer Research UK Pediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, University of Manchester, Stancliffe, Hospital Road, Manchester M27 4HA UK===

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  • Marco Geraci BSc, PhD,

    1. Cancer Research UK Pediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, University of Manchester, Stancliffe, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Tim O. B. Eden MBBS,

    1. Academic Unit of Pediatric and Adolescent Oncology, Christie Hospital National Health Service Trust, University of Manchester, Withington, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Anthony Moran MB, MPH,

    1. North West Cancer Intelligence Service, Christie Hospital, Withington, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Steve Rowan BSc,

    1. National Cancer Intelligence Centre, Office for National Statistics, London, United Kingdom
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  • Jillian M. Birch BSc, MSc, PhD

    1. Cancer Research UK Pediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, University of Manchester, Stancliffe, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Data used in this study were contributed by the 9 regional cancer registries in England. Census output is Crown copyrighted and is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationary Office and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND.

Cancer for teenagers and young adults represents a major source of morbidity and mortality. Trends in cancer incidence can provide pointers concerning how changes in the environment and in personal behavior affect cancer risks.

METHODS.

Data on 39,129 neoplasms in individuals ages 13 to 24 years who were diagnosed in England from 1979 to 2003 were analyzed. Variability in incidence by time period and differences in the time trends by age group, sex, and geographic region were analyzed using generalized linear models.

RESULTS.

Incidence rates of leukemias, lymphomas, central nervous system, bone, and germ cell tumors; melanoma; and carcinomas of the thyroid, ovary, cervix, and colon/rectum increased over time (all P < .01); whereas the incidence of carcinomas of the stomach and bladder decreased (both P < .01). These changes were consistent by age, sex, and region for most neoplasms. Melanoma incidence stabilized in southern England by 1993 but continued to increase in northern England (P = .001). The increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma was greater in individuals ages 20 to 24 year than in younger individuals, but the increase in Hodgkin lymphoma was confined to individuals ages 13 to 14 years.

CONCLUSIONS.

The changes in incidence rates may have been caused in part by environmental changes and in part by behavioral changes in young individuals. Some of these results can be used to inform public health campaigns, which can be constructed to encourage better lifestyle choices by young individuals. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.

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