CDC Reports That Brain Cancer Surpasses Leukemia as Leading Cause of Cancer Mortality in Pediatric Patients

A report from the National Center for Health Statistics – part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – found that nearly one-third of pediatric patients (1-19 years old) die from brain cancer compared with one-fourth of those with leukemia. Previously, these numbers were reversed, but brain cancer deaths have held stable, while leukemia deaths have dropped.

The study found that in 2014, 445 children died from pediatric leukemia, a decrease from 645 children in 1999. For brain cancers, deaths increased slightly from 516 children in 1999 to 534 children in 2014.

The CDC noted that treatment advances have decreased mortality related for hematologic cancers, while brain cancers remain difficult to treat. “For pediatric brain tumors in particular, we have not made significant headway at all,” said Katherine Warren, MD, head of pediatric neuro-oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

Sources: The Washington Post, September 16, 2016; Reuters, September 16, 2016.