"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Cancer deaths amongst children and adolescents fell 24% over 20 years: CDC

November 17, 2023 – Cancer mortality rates amongst children and adolescents 19 years old and younger fell 24% from 2001 to 2021, in line with the CDC reported.

The mortality rate increased from 2.75 per 100,000 to 2.10 per 100,000 during this era.

Brain cancer was essentially the most common cancer causing death on this age group in 2021. The mortality rate was 23% higher than leukemia and greater than twice that of bone and cartilage cancer.

Before 2001, leukemia was the deadliest cancer for this age group. The leukemia mortality rate amongst young people has fallen by 47% from 2001 to 2021.

Stephen Skapek, MD, medical director of the Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Health, said NBC News that advances in immunotherapy could explain the decline in leukemia deaths.

However, not all age and population groups experienced declines. According to the CDC, only children ages 9 and younger saw a “significant” decline from 2011 to 2021, and only white children saw a big decline in mortality rates after 2011.

The cancer mortality rate in 2021 was 2.38 per 100,000 for black youth, 2.36 for Hispanic youth and 1.99 for white youth, in line with the CDC.

“You can make the most sophisticated scientific advances, but if we cannot deliver them in the same way in every community, we have not achieved our goal as a nation,” says Dr. Sharon Castellino, a pediatric cancer specialist at Emory University Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, said The Associated Press. She was not involved within the report.

The report is predicated on data from the National Vital Statistics System, which collects death certificate information from across the United States.