Long-term UN study shows childhood cancer rates on the rise

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A child undergoes an x-ray at the Indian Field Hospital, Levels I and II, in Malakal. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

A new long-term study indicates that rates of childhood cancer have increased by 13 per cent over the course of two decades.

The study, published on Wednesday, was coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Matthew Wells has the details.

The IARC research, published in The Lancet Oncology journal, shows that during the years 2001 to 2010, childhood cancer was 13 per cent more common than during the 1980s.

That conclusion was based on almost 300,000 cancer cases diagnosed from 2001to 2010.

Leukaemia emerged as the most common cancer in children under-15, accounting for almost a third of cases.

Part of the reason for the increase, said IARC, could be down to "better, or earlier, detection" of cancers.

The study also provides, for the first time, cancer rates in adolescents aged 15 to 19, with the most common cancers being lymphomas.

IARC Director Christopher Wild said that the new information on the pattern and incidence of cancer in the young "is vital to raise awareness and to better understand and combat this neglected area of health early in life."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 52″

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