Childhood cancer mortality further down

© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2016, there were altogether 61 deaths from cancer among Dutch children under the age of 15. This is the lowest mortality rate ever recorded. In the early 1970s, more than 200 children died of cancer every year. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on an analysis of children’s cancer mortality rates.

Number of childhood cancer deaths (children aged 0 to 14 yrs)
 Child mortality
1970238
1971248
1972274
1973248
1974233
1975200
1976184
1977181
1978188
1979166
1980161
1981155
1982146
1983122
1984134
1985117
1986106
1987108
1988104
1989102
1990101
1991100
199292
1993106
1994101
1995112
1996117
199799
199888
199980
2000100
2001100
200284
200387
200490
200598
2006105
200780
200887
200973
201075
201183
201286
201365
201465
201568
201661

In 2016, cancer was the death cause for 32 boys and 29 girls. Almost fifty years ago, the number of childhood cancer deaths was still four times as high. The largest drop in cancer mortality among children was recorded in the 1970s and 1980s. After this, the decline in mortality slowed down.

Decline mainly in leukaemia death rate

The most common types of cancer deaths in children are from brain cancer and leukaemia. The decline in children’s cancer mortality is largely due to fewer leukaemia deaths. In the early 1970s, as many as 100 children died of leukaemia per year on average, i.e. over 40 percent of all childhood cancer deaths. In recent years, leukaemia has been responsible for fewer than 20 child deaths on a yearly basis.

Number of child deaths from brain cancer and leukaemia (children aged 0 to 14 yrs) (average number of deaths per year)
 Brain cancerLeukaemia
1970-197937.781.8
1980-198930.343.3
1990-199926.329.5
2000-200935.724.2
2010-201630.915.1

Cancer leading death cause among children

In the period from 2007 to 2016, cancer was the leading cause of death among children aged 3 to 11 years; three in five cases were related to cancer.
With a share of 42 percent (2007 to 2016), brain tumours accounted for the highest cancer mortality among children, versus 22 percent of deaths caused by leukaemia. Other relatively frequent types of cancer among children are adrenal gland tumours (10 percent) and bone and joint cancer (7 percent).

Childhood cancer mortality by type (children aged 0 to 14 yrs) (%)
 Incidence
Brain41.7
Leukaemia22.2
Adrenal gland10.2
Bone and joint6.9
(Non-)Hodgkin lymphoma4.2
Sarcoma4
Kidney2.8
Liver1.6
Other6.3

Every year, over 400 children (0 to 14 years) are diagnosed with cancer. Due to improved treatment and care, cancer survival rates have increased steadily.