Childhood cancers are on the rise, but that may be accounted for by better detection.
Childhood cancers have risen across the globe by 13% over 20 years, according to data from the World Health Organization’s cancer section.
Cancer in children is comparatively rare; when it does occur it is more likely to have been triggered by something in the child’s genetic makeup than by anything to do with lifestyle or the environment.
Part of the reason for the rise is thought likely to be better detection. But experts say it is vital to collect better data from all over the world to establish all the causes, which could include infections and environmental pollutants.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which has published its findings in the medical journal Lancet Oncology, says the numbers recorded in cancer registries around the world have gone up since the 1980s. Between 2001-2010, there were 140 children in every million who were diagnosed with cancer under the age of 14, which represents a 13% increase.
IARC for the first time gives numbers for adolescents with cancer. There were 185 adolescents in every million diagnosed with cancer, most commonly lymphomas, which are cancers of the white blood cells.
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