The 5-year cancer survival rate for children younger than 15 years old is up by 43% since 1975, according to investigators from the American Cancer Society.

The 5-year survival rate for all cancers showed a statistically significant rise from 58% in 1975 to 83% in 2011, said Rebecca L. Siegel and her associates at the ACS (CA Cancer J Clin. 2016 Jan;66[1]:7-30).

“The substantial progress for all of the major childhood cancers reflects both improvements in treatment and high levels of participation in clinical trials,” they wrote.

Survival for cancers of the brain and nervous system – now the leading cause of cancer death for those younger than 20 years old – increased from 57% in 1975 to 74% in 2011. The next-most-common cause of cancer death in children and adolescents is leukemia, and 5-year survival for acute myeloid leukemia went from 19% in 1975 to 67% in 2011, while 5-year survival for acute lymphocytic leukemia rose from 57% to 91% over that time period, the investigators reported.

The authors reported no conflicts of interest.


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