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The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | September 23, 2013

More Children Under Age 15 Die from Cancer than Any Other Disease

As we mark September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to remember that cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15, even as medical advances have improved cancer treatment.

It’s estimated that more than 1,100 children ages 0-14 are diagnosed with cancer each year in California. The statewide rate of new cancer diagnoses in California was 17.6 per 100,000 children ages 0-19 in 2006-2010 (the latest data available), similar to previous years. Among California counties with available data, rates of new childhood cancer diagnoses vary widely, for example, from 14.9 to 24.7 per 100,000 children in 2006-2010. See the rates by county>>

Among racial/ethnic groups with available data, white children tend to have the highest rate of cancer diagnoses, but they also have higher five-year survival rates than African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino children once diagnosed.

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer among children in California. From 2000-2010, the five-year survival rate for Leukemia was 78.4%, similar to the overall survival rate for childhood cancers (79.5%). Fortunately, the majority of children diagnosed with cancer survive into adulthood.

Read more about childhood cancer in California, including policy implications>>

See Childhood Cancer Data in California

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Net Five-Year Cancer Survival Rate, by Race/Ethnicity: 2000 - 2010

Racial/ethnic inequities persist in childhood cancer survival rates, with white children having higher probabilities of surviving for at least five years after diagnosis than children in other racial/ethnic groups.


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