Know the most common types of cancer in people under 40


Cancer diagnoses are more frequent in people over 60, but younger individuals can also develop malignant tumors.

A diagnosis of cancer is more common in people over age 60, because with age, it is more likely that incompatibilities occur in cell division. However, young people under 40 are also at risk of developing malignant tumors.

Oncologist Wesley Pereira Andrade, president of the Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology (SBCO), warns of the growth of diagnoses among young people. “Cancer is more common among the elderly, but it is a myth to think that it does not affect young people. In fact, in this group, diagnoses were increasingly common”, he says.

According to the specialist, the most common tumors in young people are:

  • Brain tumour
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cancers: especially in the digestive system
  • Cancer of the testes and ovaries
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Lymphomas.

In any age group, patients should be aware of body changes, reminds Wesley Pereira Andrade. In addition to the appearance of physical signs, such as lumps, it is necessary to examine the symptoms that appear without explanation and persist for more than three months. “If fatigue is excessive, there is weight loss or changes in bowel habits, the patient should seek a doctor to find out the cause”, says the specialist.

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Oncologist Janiara Teixeira de Souza, who works at Rede D’r, in Brasília, explains that signs such as weight change, excessive tiredness, pain that does not go away, lumps and swelling are the main symptoms to be observed in young people.

The doctor highlights lymphomas, leukemias, breast cancer and germ tumors – ovarian and testicular – as the most common in the population under 40 years old. “Some types of cancer have nonspecific symptoms, so it is important not to underestimate mood swings and mood swings,” says the doctor.

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