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Pediatric cancers are on the rise



– The incidence of many pediatric cancers are on the rise, and the increase is occurring in nearly all demographic groups studied, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pediatric cancers that increased significantly in incidence from 2001 through 2014, compared with previous time periods, include thyroid carcinoma, hepatic tumors, lymphomas, renal tumors, and brain tumors. Other cancer types remained unchanged, except malignant melanoma, which saw a significant decline in incidence over the same period, reported David A. Siegel, MD, of the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC in Atlanta.

Dr. David A. Siegel of the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC in Atlanta. Neil Osterweil/MDedge News

Dr. David A. Siegel

“Some of the possible causes might be as benign as just increased ascertainment, but it might be more complicated, such as environmental exposures or population-based changes,” he said during a poster discussion session at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Recent studies of trends in pediatric cancer have either used data from before 2010 or covered less than a third of the U.S. population, the investigators noted.

To get a more accurate estimate of current trends, the investigators relied on the United States Cancer Statistics, which combines data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and the National Program of Cancer Registries. Together, the combined databases cover 100% of the U.S. population.

Dr. Siegel and his colleagues looked at cancer incidence rates and trends among individuals younger than 20 years of age from across 48 states from 2001 to 2014 – Mississippi, Nevada, and the District of Columbia were not included.

They used a joinpoint regression method to calculate average annual percent change (AAPC) in rates, then stratified rates and trends by sex, age, and race/ethnicity; location; economic status; and cancer type.


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