(WHTM) — February is National Cancer Prevention Month and according to a study released last year, more individuals under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with cancer.

People in the U.S. and worldwide are being diagnosed with more breast, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancers.

Dr. Suneel Kamath, an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic, said that he is seeing a lot more younger people now than he has in the past.

“It’s a very concerning trend for sure and one we see in clinic all the time. If you look at my clinic schedule, and I just kind of scan through the ages of the patients coming in, there are a lot more people in their 20s and 30s than there were in the past,” explained Kamath.

Kamath said that there isn’t one definitive answer for why people under 50 are getting early onset cancer, more research still needs to be done.

According to the study, however, part of the rise in cancer cases may be due to people getting screenings done at a younger age.

Other factors that can impact early onset cancer would be diet, lifestyle, and environmental exposures. Factors like obesity can also play a role, according to researchers.

Kamath stated that he agrees with that finding, especially since obesity rates have gone up since the 1950’s. Today, nearly 75% of Americans are considered overweight or obese. That number was 40% 25 years ago.

“We know that calorie excess really causes a lot of harmful things in terms of metabolism, inflammation – all of those things can be triggers for cancer, and because excess weight is such a global risk factor, it really could affect many different tumor types,” said Kamath.

In order to work to prevent early onset cancer, Kamath recommends keeping a healthy weight, regularly exercising, and eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.

He also recommends going to your annual screenings. Guidelines have changed in recent years, so it’s important to make sure you are up to date. abc