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      International incidence of childhood cancer, 2001–10: a population-based registry study

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          Cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, and the recorded incidence tends to increase with time. Internationally comparable data on childhood cancer incidence in the past two decades are scarce. This study aimed to provide internationally comparable local data on the incidence of childhood cancer to promote research of causes and implementation of childhood cancer control.


          This population-based registry study, devised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in collaboration with the International Association of Cancer Registries, collected data on all malignancies and non-malignant neoplasms of the CNS diagnosed before age 20 years in populations covered by high-quality cancer registries with complete data for 2001–10. Incidence rates per million person-years for the 0–14 years and 0–19 years age groups were age-adjusted using the world standard population to provide age-standardised incidence rates (WSRs), using the age-specific incidence rates (ASR) for individual age groups (0–4 years, 5–9 years, 10–14 years, and 15–19 years). All rates were reported for 19 geographical areas or ethnicities by sex, age group, and cancer type. The regional WSRs for children aged 0–14 years were compared with comparable data obtained in the 1980s.


          Of 532 invited cancer registries, 153 registries from 62 countries, departments, and territories met quality standards, and contributed data for the entire decade of 2001–10. 385 509 incident cases in children aged 0–19 years occurring in 2·64 billion person-years were included. The overall WSR was 140·6 per million person-years in children aged 0–14 years (based on 284 649 cases), and the most common cancers were leukaemia (WSR 46·4), followed by CNS tumours (WSR 28·2), and lymphomas (WSR 15·2). In children aged 15–19 years (based on 100 860 cases), the ASR was 185·3 per million person-years, the most common being lymphomas (ASR 41·8) and the group of epithelial tumours and melanoma (ASR 39·5). Incidence varied considerably between and within the described regions, and by cancer type, sex, age, and racial and ethnic group. Since the 1980s, the global WSR of registered cancers in children aged 0–14 years has increased from 124·0 (95% CI 123·3–124·7) to 140·6 (140·1–141·1) per million person-years.


          This unique global source of childhood cancer incidence will be used for aetiological research and to inform public health policy, potentially contributing towards attaining several targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. The observed geographical, racial and ethnic, age, sex, and temporal variations require constant monitoring and research.


          International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Union for International Cancer Control.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Overdiagnosis in cancer.

           H. Welch,  C. W. Black (2010)
          This article summarizes the phenomenon of cancer overdiagnosis-the diagnosis of a "cancer" that would otherwise not go on to cause symptoms or death. We describe the two prerequisites for cancer overdiagnosis to occur: the existence of a silent disease reservoir and activities leading to its detection (particularly cancer screening). We estimated the magnitude of overdiagnosis from randomized trials: about 25% of mammographically detected breast cancers, 50% of chest x-ray and/or sputum-detected lung cancers, and 60% of prostate-specific antigen-detected prostate cancers. We also review data from observational studies and population-based cancer statistics suggesting overdiagnosis in computed tomography-detected lung cancer, neuroblastoma, thyroid cancer, melanoma, and kidney cancer. To address the problem, patients must be adequately informed of the nature and the magnitude of the trade-off involved with early cancer detection. Equally important, researchers need to work to develop better estimates of the magnitude of overdiagnosis and develop clinical strategies to help minimize it.
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            International Classification of Childhood Cancer, third edition.

            The third edition of the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O-3), which was published in 2000, introduced major changes in coding and classification of neoplasms, notably for leukemias and lymphomas, which are important groups of cancer types that occur in childhood. This necessitated a third revision of the 1996 International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC-3). The tumor categories for the ICCC-3 were designed to respect several principles: agreement with current international standards, integration of the entities defined by newly developed diagnostic techniques, continuity with previous childhood classifications, and exhaustiveness. The ICCC-3 classifies tumors coded according to the ICD-O-3 into 12 main groups, which are split further into 47 subgroups. These 2 levels of the ICCC-3 allow standardized comparisons of the broad categories of childhood neoplasms in continuity with the previous classifications. The 16 most heterogeneous subgroups are broken down further into 2-11 divisions to allow study of important entities or homogeneous collections of tumors characterized at the cytogenetic or molecular level. Some divisions may be combined across the higher-level categories, such as the B-cell neoplasms within leukemias and lymphomas. The ICCC-3 respects currently existing international standards and was designed for use in international, population-based, epidemiological studies and cancer registries. The use of an international classification system is especially important in the field of pediatric oncology, in which the low frequency of cases requires rigorous procedures to ensure data comparability. Copyright 2005 American Cancer Society.
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              Gender Differences in Cancer Susceptibility: An Inadequately Addressed Issue

              The gender difference in cancer susceptibility is one of the most consistent findings in cancer epidemiology. Hematologic malignancies are generally more common in males and this can be generalized to most other cancers. Similar gender differences in non-malignant diseases including autoimmunity, are attributed to hormonal or behavioral differences. Even in early childhood, however, where these differences would not apply, there are differences in cancer incidence between males and females. In childhood, few cancers are more common in females, but overall, males have higher susceptibility. In Hodgkin lymphoma, the gender ratio reverses toward adolescence. The pattern that autoimmune disorders are more common in females, but cancer and infections in males suggests that the known differences in immunity may be responsible for this dichotomy. Besides immune surveillance, genome surveillance mechanisms also differ in efficiency between males and females. Other obvious differences include hormonal ones and the number of X chromosomes. Some of the differences may even originate from exposures during prenatal development. This review will summarize well-documented examples of gender effect in cancer susceptibility, discuss methodological issues in exploration of gender differences, and present documented or speculated mechanisms. The gender differential in susceptibility can give important clues for the etiology of cancers and should be examined in all genetic and non-genetic association studies.

                Author and article information

                Lancet Oncol
                Lancet Oncol
                The Lancet. Oncology
                Lancet Pub. Group
                1 June 2017
                June 2017
                : 18
                : 6
                : 719-731
                [a ]Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
                [b ]Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA
                [c ]Paediatric Cancer Registry, National Cancer Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                [d ]Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Children's Hospital, Tygerberg, South Africa
                [e ]Seoul National University Children's Hospital, Institute of Cancer Research, Seoul, South Korea
                [f ]National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, Public Health England, Oxford, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher, Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon 69372, CEDEX 08, FranceCorrespondence to: Dr Eva Steliarova-FoucherSection of Cancer SurveillanceInternational Agency for Research on CancerWorld Health OrganizationLyonCEDEX 0869372France steliarova@

                Contributors listed in the appendix

                © 2017 World Health Organization

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


                Oncology & Radiotherapy


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