Relative to the prevalence of many forms of adult cancer, childhood cancer is, statistically speaking, relatively rare. Yet, despite its “rarity”, it remains the number one disease killer of children in the U.S.
A report released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) indicates that the global occurrence of childhood cancer indicates that approximately 300,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed in people under the age of 19 every year.
Almost half of childhood cancers are cancers of blood cells (leukemia and lymphoma), and the most frequent other malignancies are tumors of the central nervous system and tumors that develop from embryonal tissues. Several tumor types occur almost exclusively in children, such as neuroblastoma, nephroblastoma, and retinoblastoma, whereas carcinomas, which are the predominant type in adults (breast, lung, or stomach cancer), are extremely rare in children.
Leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in most world regions, where it represents about 35% of all childhood cancer cases.
The report highlights the increasing inequality in childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment between high-income and low-income countries where scientists and physicians now believe that while mortality from infectious diseases is declining, mortality from childhood cancer, even forms of cancer now considered “treatable” in the U.S., is increasing.
The report also hints at a surprising correlation between some forms of childhood cancers and infectious diseases. For example, Burkitt lymphoma is one of the rarest forms of childhood cancer but occurs with the highest frequency in equatorial Africa where exposure to Epstein-Barr virus and malaria are also prevalent.
At the Institute of Interventional Oncology (IDOI México) we believe that knowing as many details about cancer is a critical part of fighting it. To this day, IDOI has established relationships with scientific institutions in order to continue and strengthen its research in formulas and procedures dedicated to improved the treatment of oncological child patients.