The death rate due to cancer in children and adolescents aged 1-19 years continues to fall, decreasing by 20% from 1999 to 2014, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
In 1999, the total cancer mortality rate was 2.85 per 100,000, which fell to 2.28 in 2014. Mortality was significantly higher in males than in females, though both saw significant decreases. Male mortality decreased by 18% from 3.15 per 100,000 to 2.57, and female mortality decreased by 22% from 2.54 per 100,000 to 1.98.
All age groups saw a decrease in cancer mortality rates from 1999 to 2014, with the largest decrease in children aged 1-4 years old at 26%, and the smallest decrease in children aged 5-9 years old at 14%. The death rate for adolescents aged 15-19 was 2.9 per 100,000 in 2014, significantly higher then the other age groups, which were not significantly different.
Cancer death rates decreased by 23% in black children and adolescents from 3.01 per 100,000 people to 2.32, while the death rate decreased by 17% in white children and adolescents from 2.85 per 100,000 people to 2.36. There was no significant difference between the death rates of white and black children and adolescents, the NCHS reported .
Brain cancer was the most common cause of cancer death in 2014, accounting for 29.9% of deaths, followed by leukemia at 24.9%. This represents a reversal from 1999, when leukemia accounted for 29.7% of cancer deaths, and brain cancer for 23.7%. Deaths due to kidney and renal cancer also decreased significantly, with the percentage falling from 2.8% to 1.8%.
Major advances in the treatment of cancer, particularly leukemia, have played an important role in increasing cancer survivorship, the NCHS investigators noted.
The NCHS report is based on data collected from the National Vital Statistics System.