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New Figures Show Improvements in Childhood Cancer Survival

CANCER survival rates for children of all ages have significantly improve, statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed. The new data showed that 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year overall survival rates were higher in 2017 than 2001, a trend that has continued since 1990. It is believed these promising figures are due to enhanced treatments and care in cancer.

Method

The analysis included children (aged 0–14 years) residing in England who were diagnosed with a primary malignant neoplasm of any organ or a non-malignant neoplasm of the brain and central nervous system between the years of 2001 and 2017. Those with cancer of the skin other than melanoma and secondary and unspecified malignant neoplasms were excluded. Age-standardised estimated survival rate was the measurement used to ensure that equal weight could be given to the three age groups (0–4 years, 5–9 years, and 10–14 years) as well as to enable comparison over time and between population groups.

Increased Survival

At 1 year, the age-standardised estimated survival rate was 94.3% in 2017, an increase from 89.5% in 2001. The largest improvement observed was in 5-year survival, which grew by almost 7 percentage points from 2001 to 2017: 77.1% and 84.0%, respectively. Finally, 10-year estimated survival was 81.3% in 2017 and 75.2% in 2001. These trends were reflected in all three age categories.

The significant differences between survival at 1 year and 5 years emphasise that children are at a higher risk of death in the first 5 years following a cancer diagnosis. However, there was only a small difference between 5-year and 10-year survival estimates, displaying that children who survive at 5 years usually go on to live for at least another 10 years.

Positive Figures

These positive figures reflect the major advances there have been in cancer treatment and care in the period between 2001 and 2017. The ONS report also noted that survival rates for the main types of childhood cancer coincided with similar trends in clinical trials of cancer treatments since the 1990s.

Common Cancer Types

The report also showed that the most common forms of cancer in children were leukaemia and malignant neoplasms of the brain, accounting for 50.8% of all childhood cancers in 2016.

 

James Coker, Reporter

For the source and further information about the study, click here.