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Incidence and Types of Childhood Cancers
- Childhood cancer is a rare disease, but it remains the second leading cause of death in children.
- The most common type of childhood cancer is leukemia, and the second most common type of pediatric malignancy is a tumor involving the brain or central nervous system.
- Because most carcinomas are caused by environmental exposure, these cancers are extremely rare in children because they have not lived long enough to be exposed to carcinogens.
- Children with immunodeficiencies are at increased risk for developing cancer because of an ineffective immune system.
- Children with Down’s Syndrome are at increased risk for developing leukemia.
- Risk factors that may be associated with the development of childhood cancer include genetic, nutrition and diet, immune function, occupational exposure, hormonal variations, and viral illnesses, as well as other individual characteristics such as biologic, social, or physical environments.
- Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk for developing a second cancer during their lifetime, compared with the general population.
- Improved survival for children with cancer has led to research aimed at discovering less toxic treatments that will minimize residual effects.