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Antiaging causes wrinkles in health awareness

By Kara Schroeder | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-14 06:21
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In a world where it seems everyone is fighting the effects of aging, and social media is filled with cosmetic solutions while providing photo filters to assist, early-onset cancer rates in people aged 18 to 49 are rising, according to an article published by Yale Medicine in March.

Riding on the cusp of turning 50, it is astounding and frightening to tick off the number of people I know in their 30s, 40s and 50s who have been diagnosed with and passed from various cancer diagnoses in the past decade. Yet most people seem to be distracted by how they can look younger rather than going to a physician to get health screenings.

Antiaging treatments worldwide are booming. valued the antiaging market in 2021 at $62 billion with a forecasted increase to $93 billion by 2027. Weight loss drugs, injectable fillers, noninvasive liposuction and facelifts — it's no longer a stigma to publicly announce you've had these procedures. Videos of "influencers" fill social media showing the processes with before and after photos, sparking a desire in viewers to get more and more done to look younger.

While statistics show those having cosmetic treatments are mostly women, male aesthetic procedures have been on the rise. We live in a society that hypocritically and publicly condemns body shaming and ageism, but it seems the push for that equality is all but going unheard. Advertisements for antiaging are everywhere but self-acceptance ads are rare.

With the rise in early-onset diseases, getting regular health screenings should take priority over how to get rid of smile lines and cellulite. But in a society that values appearance over physical and mental well-being, including billionaires like Jeff Bezos investing in the antiaging market, how can we influence everyone to take better care of themselves?

Innovation in healthcare has vastly improved but imagine if the money invested in antiaging research was invested in cancer research. And if someone is willing to shell out thousands of dollars to look younger, wouldn't it make sense to spend a couple of hundred to catch a deadly disease in its early stages?

Having never had any cosmetic procedure, I don't judge others for trying to look their best. However, at what point do we appreciate just being alive and having the ability to keep aging? It always baffles me when someone fudges their age or won't disclose what year they were born. Birthdays are such a blessing. As more people I know suffer from deadly health issues, the happier I am to have the privilege of waking up every morning.

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