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Pediatric Health: Brain Cancer Now the Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Children

Sep 19, 2016 04:45 AM EDT
Pediatric Cancer
Brain cancer is now in the leading cause of cancer deaths in children aged 1 to 19 years, overtaking leukemia.
(Photo : Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that brain cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in children.

According to the CDC report, about 29.9 percent of cancer deaths among children aged one to 19 years in 2014 were caused by brain cancer, which is higher than the 23.7 percent in 1999. In 1999, leukemia is considered to be the leading cause of cancer deaths in children at 29.7 percent.

Brain cancer and leukemia remain to be the two leading cause of pediatric cancer deaths in the United States. The two types of cancer accounted for 53.4 percent of cancer deaths in children in 1999 and 54.8 percent in 2014. Other leading cause of cancer deaths in children one to 19 years old include bone and articular cartilage at 10.1 percent, thyroid and other endocrine glands at 9.0 percent and mesothelial and soft tissue at 7.7 percent.

Despite the increase of deaths cause by brain cancer, the overall death rate of pediatric cancer has decreased by 20 percent in 2014, from 2.85 to 2.28 per 100,000 populations.

The number of cancer deaths due to leukemia has already reduced due to the tremendous efforts of oncologists to develop treatments for the dreaded disease. However, brain cancer remains to be an area with limited treatment options due to the blood-brain barrier and potential complications during surgeries.

"The decrease in deaths from leukemia, once universally lethal, is a result of the enormous strides oncologists have made in recent decades in developing effective chemotherapy regimens and finding the best ways to use radiation and bone-marrow transplants," explained Elizabeth Ward, senior vice president for intramural research at the American Cancer Society, in a report from Washington Post. "By contrast, brain cancers are generally very hard to treat."

To learn more about brain cancer and tumors, check out the video below.

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