Cancer, child… Difficult to associate these two words as they reflect an injustice of fate. Representing less than 1% of all cancers, these Pediatric diseases affect one child in 500 in France.
Cancer is one of the main causes of mortality among young people, with each year 160,000 cases in the world and nearly 1,500.
Cancers of the child in figures
In the world, nearly 160,000 children are affected by cancer every year and about 90,000 of them succumb to their disease1. But the exact number of new cases is difficult to evaluate, insofar as there is no census system in all countries.
In France, according to a study by the Institut de Veille sanitaire2 dating from July 2005, cancer is the second cause of mortality of children less than 15 years. Therefore, 1,460 new cases appearing each year. One child in 500! A figure that thrilled… Fortunately in our country, medical advances to cure 70 to 80% of them. Which is not the case in developing countries, which comprise 80% of all children with cancer. There, more than one child in two reaches of cancer there succumb because they lack access to effective therapy or early detection.
Diseases on the rise in Europe
If cancer is rare before the age of 20, the children and adolescents are frequently affected by this disease, and boys more than girls. These are the results of a study conducted in 19 European countries3. All types of cancer are increasing among young people. Leukemia and brain tumors are cancers more common among children in Europe, while carcinomas and lymphomas occur most frequently in adolescents. For Dr. Steliarova-Foucher, Coordinator of the study, “this increase in cancers is found at all ages, but is higher in children under four years and adolescents”.
The improvement of diagnostic techniques may partially explain this increase, but the phenomenon is worrying: childhood cancers have increased about 1% per year since the 1970s and those of adolescence by 1.5% per year. Several hypotheses are advanced to explain this trend. To the rank of the accused: pesticides, benzene, and high birth weight…
Only good news, the survival of these children has increased dramatically in 30 years. While less than one in two (44%) children survived her cancer after five years in the 1970s, this proportion increased to three children out of four (74%) in the 1990s. This assessment of developed countries is unfortunately more black…
1 – National Centre for research on cancer (IARC), 2002.
2 – BEH n ° 32/2005
3 The Lancet 2004; 364: 2097-105 and release of the international agency for research on cancer on December 10, 2004.