The report indicates that the death rate for cancer among children under the age of 20 has decreased by 24% since 2001, with 2.1 cancer-related deaths per 100,000 children in 2021, down from approximately 2.8 in 2001.
Between 2001 and 2011, mortality rates for childhood cancer decreased at similar rates for Black, White, and Hispanic children, resulting in no significant gap in mortality. However, the subsequent decade saw a continued decline in mortality rates only among White children, creating a disparity. In 2021, the cancer death rate for Black and Hispanic children was approximately 20% higher than that for White children.
While childhood cancer mortality declined across all age groups from 2001 to 2011, the significant decrease continued only for children under the age of 10 from 2011 to 2021. Nonetheless, there was a 23% reduction in the cancer death rate for teenagers in 2021 compared to 2001. Additionally, the death rates from leukemia, which was once the most common cause of cancer-related deaths among children in the US, were nearly halved between 2001 and 2021.
Brain cancer has now emerged as the leading cause of childhood cancer mortality, accounting for approximately one-quarter of all cancer deaths among children under the age of 20.
Overall, cancer ranked as the fourth leading cause of death among children aged 1 to 19 in the United States, according to data from the CDC. The report underscores the importance of addressing disparities in childhood cancer outcomes and continuing efforts to improve the prognosis and treatment of pediatric cancer patients.