According to NBC News, pediatric cancer rates are at the highest numbers in Northeast America. The government cancer map data also shows that the lowest rates of childhood cancer are found in the South. Other data includes common incidences of leukemia in the west. Rates of brain cancer and pediatric lymphoma were found to be highest in the Northeast.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells, which is particularly problematic as white blood cells are those that help the body fight infections. In people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that eventually crowd out normal healthy blood cells. There are many types of leukemia, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, and acute myelogenous leukemia. All of these types of leukemia come with their own set of symptoms, causes and treatments. To learn more about each of them, click here.
What is Lymphoma?
Lymphomas are cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and is composed of a complex system of thin vessels, akin to blood vessels, that run throughout the body. These lymph vessels are responsible for carrying a clear liquid that contains a white blood cell called a lymphocyte. There are multiple types of lymphoma. Among these types are follicular lymphoma, hodgkin lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and cutaneous t-cell lymphoma. To read more about these, click here.
What the Data Shows
While implications from data concerning rates of pediatric brain cancer are not particularly clear yet, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes these numbers and estimations may be helpful for doctors to better take care of and diagnose kids with cancer.
“Variation in childhood cancer incidence might be related to differences in exposures to carcinogenic chemicals (e.g., air pollution, secondhand smoke, food, or drinking water) or radiation,” said Dr. Siegel from the CDC.
It’s also worth mentioning that the data could be skewed by reporting error and different systems for detecting cancer in different areas in the U.S. However, there are some parallels between this data concerning children and data concerning adults.
“Similar to the findings from this report, recent data detailing adult cancers also indicate that the highest cancer incidence rates are in the Northeast,” researchers noted.
Survival rates for children diagnosed with cancer is high at around 80%, and roughly 15,000 teens and children are diagnosed with pediatric cancer every year in America. Most of these cancers, researchers predict, are caused by genetic mutations that are inherited after birth.
“In adults, these gene mutations reflect the cumulative effects of aging and long-term exposure to cancer-causing substances,” stated the National Cancer Institute.
Among these cancer-causing substances is alcohol at number one. Following behind are things like alcohol and obesity. These, however, are not typically risk factors found in children.
Other types of studies have also analyzed pesticides, proximity to nuclear power plants and/or power lines, and infectious agents in their role in causing pediatric cancer. However, these studies have not shown any significant correlation.
The team studied pediatric cancer rates throughout the country, finding the highest rates to be in the Northeast and the lowest to be in the South. The U.S. state with the highest cancer rate was New Hampshire, the states with the lowest rates are Mississippi and South Carolina. To learn more about this data, click here.