Brain tumours and leukaemia account for two thirds of childhood cancer mortality

13/12/2012 15:00

In the period 2002-2011, a total of 862 children in the age category 0-14 died from cancer. Two thirds of them died from brain tumours or leukaemia. The childhood cancer mortality rate in the Netherlands is the same as the EU average, but marginally higher than in the neighbouring countries.

More boys than girls

More boys (490) than girls (372) died from cancer in the period 2002-2011. According to the Dutch Cancer Society, nearly 400 children in the age category 0-14 are annually diagnosed for cancer. Cancer is the most common cause of death for 2 to 13-year-olds. In 14-year-olds, traffic accidents are the most common cause of death and for 0 to 2-year-olds perinatal problems and congenital defects are the most common causes of death.

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs)

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs)

Cancer mortality relatively stable over the past five years

With an average annual death toll of 80 children, childhood cancer mortality has been fairly stable since 2007. In the period 2002-2006, the number of children who died from cancer increased annually to reach more than 100 in 2006.

Brain tumours and leukaemia most common types of cancer among children

Brain tumours and leukaemia together account for 67 percent of total childhood cancer mortality. Cancer of the endocrine glands (10 percent), bones (5 percent) and connective tissue (4 percent) are also relatively common. Other lethal types of cancer in children are (non-)Hodgkin’s disease or lymphoma and cancer of the urogenital system, like the bladder and the genital organs.

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs) by location of the tumour, 2002-2011

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs) by location of the tumour, 2002-2011

Netherlands complies with EU average

In the period 2006-2010, 3.0 in 100 thousand children in the Netherlands died from cancer, exactly the same ratio as the EU average, but in most countries in Northern and Western Europe, childhood cancer mortality is below the level of the Netherlands. In the countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, the ratio is higher than in the Netherlands. Romania has the highest childhood cancer mortality rate. The comparison between the various countries in Europe only includes malignant types of cancer.

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs) in the EU, 2006/2010

Childhood cancer mortality (0–14 yrs) in the EU, 2006/2010

Kim de Bruin and Jan Hoogenboezem