Study finds racial and ethnic disparities in childhood cancers by year of age
New research shows substantial differences in childhood cancer rates when looking at a single year of age rather than grouping together several years. The study published by Wiley early in line in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, also found that minority children have different risks than white children for many types of cancer.
Childhood cancer rates in the United States are typically reported in 5-year age groups, which can obscure important details. Additionally, racial and ethnic variations in pediatric cancer rates are typically presented across broad age categories.
Erin L. Marcotte, PhD, University of Minnesota, and colleagues reviewed 2000-2017 data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, a source of cancer statistics in the United States, for assess cancer incidence rates. by narrow age groups from birth to 39 and across races and ethnicities. â€œThere are significant racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence of certain types of cancer in children,â€ said Dr. Marcotte. Moreover, unlike cancers that occur in the elderly, the incidence of cancer in children and young adults shows striking variations with age at diagnosis, and the study of these variations has often led to a better understanding of the causes of cancer in children. ”
Several types of cancer have shown substantial differences by year of age, both overall and between racial and ethnic groups. Black children, teens, and young adults had lower rates of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL (a cancer of the white blood cells), compared to white children, especially between the ages of 1 and 7 and between 16 and 20. “Black children and young adults had lower rates of ALL, the most common childhood leukemia, at each age, but this decrease in risk was most striking in children aged 2 to 5, where the incidence of ALL in black children was less than half that of white children, â€Dr. Marcotte said.
The researchers also observed that while black children had the same incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (another cancer of the white blood cells) as white children, young black adults were at greater risk than young white adults, starting at age 28. . higher risk of nephroblastoma, a rare kidney tumor usually diagnosed before the age of 5 years.
Hispanic children had a higher risk of Hodgkin lymphoma than white children aged 0 to 9, but had a lower risk at all other ages. They also had lower rates of astrocytoma, cancer of the brain or spinal cord, but higher rates of ALL, especially between the ages of 10 and 23. The analysis also found that people in Asia and the Pacific Islands and Native Americans and Alaska Natives have lower rates of many types of childhood cancer.
“Some of the trends we have observed may be due to racial and ethnic differences in known risk factors for childhood cancer, such as exposure to infections and birth defects,” said Dr Marcotte. “We also know that the causes of each type of cancer in children and young adults can vary depending on the age at which it occurs. For example, exposure to Epstein-Barr virus is associated with Hodgkin lymphoma. diagnosed in children under 10 but not at older ages, so exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus may explain the higher risk of Hodgkin lymphoma in Hispanic children under 10.
Dr. Marcotte hopes this work will play a role in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in cancer risk in children and young adults.
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Full citation: “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pediatric Cancer Incidence in Children and Young Adults in the United States by Year of Age.” Erin L. Marcotte, Allison M. Domingues, Jeannette M. Sample, Michaela R. Richardson, and Logan G. Spector. CANCER; Published online: June 21, 2021 (DOI: 10.1002 / cncr.33678).
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About the journal
CANCER is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from global sources for all oncology specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information between oncological disciplines concerned with the etiology, evolution and treatment of human cancer. CANCER is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society by Wiley and can be viewed online. Follow us on Twitter @JournalCancer
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