Why some cancer rates are rising among kids

September 11, 2014

Although pediatric cancers are rare and the rate for all childhood and adolescent cancers combined has remained stable from 2000 to 2009, a new study reveals that 2 children’s cancers appear to have increased rates of diagnoses.

 

Although pediatric cancers are rare and the rate for all childhood and adolescent cancers combined has remained stable from 2000 to 2009, a new study reveals that 2 children’s cancers appear to have increased rates of diagnoses.

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Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that data from the National Program of Cancer Registries and from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results statewide registries identified 120,000 cancer cases among children aged from 0 to 19 years from 2001 to 2009, or 171 cases per million persons. The overall incidence rate of all cancers in children combined remained level (annual percent change [APC], 0.3%).

However, the rate of diagnoses for thyroid cancer rose from 6 cases per million children in 2001 to 8 per million in 2009, and the rate for renal cancer climbed from 0.5 cases per million children to 0.7 per million, respectively.

Data showed that the rates for thyroid cancer and renal carcinomas increased significantly among boys, and thyroid carcinomas increased significantly among girls. Renal tumors and thyroid cancers increased for both boys and girls aged 15 to 19 years.

The researchers also found that overall cancer rates for black children rose significantly among those aged 0 to 14 years (APC, 1.3%), and that black children and adolescents saw increases in the rates for renal tumors and thyroid carcinomas.

The researchers say it is unclear whether the increase in pediatric thyroid cancers has causes similar to those increasing cases of thyroid cancer in adults. They say further research is needed to identify an association between thyroid cancer and such factors as exposure to radiation from computed tomography scans or dental x-rays, or even from obesity, which is increasing in both children and adults.

Similarly, increases in cases of renal cancers among adults and adolescents may be related to obesity and the lack of physical activity, they suggest.

Cancer remains the leading disease-related cause of death among children and adolescents aged 1 to 19 years in the United States.


 

 

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