- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that rates of cancer for children and teens in the country fell 24% between 2001 and 2021. The report looked at the rates for Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white kids up to 19 years old, who made up 92% of all youth cancer deaths in 2021.1
- According to the report, the overall cancer death rate, for those under 20 years old in 2021 was 2.10 deaths per 100K — a significant drop from 2.75 per 100k in 2001 but slightly up from the rate of 2.09 per 100K in both 2019 and 2020. The total number of deaths dropped from 2,226 in 2001 to 1,722 in 2021.2
- The report, which looked at deaths from common forms of cancer like leukemia, brain cancer, and a category of bone cancer called 'bone and articular cartilage cancer,' also divided the data by each of the three racial groups. From 2011 to 2021, the rate dropped only slightly for Hispanic and Black youths while the rate for Whites was 19-20% lower than their Black and Hispanic peers.1
- During the ten years before 2011, the rates for Black, Hispanic, and White youths all fell between 15% and 17%, though the next ten years saw the continued trend for White kids while Blacks and Hispanics were little changed. Overall, between 2001 and 2021 the rates for White, Hispanic, and Black youths fell 27%, 19%, and 12%, respectively.2
- Over the 20-year period, death rates for females under 20 declined by 30% compared to 19% for males; girls also saw a separate 9% decline from 2020 to 2021 while boys endured an 8% increase.2
- While death rates have dropped, the number of youth cancer diagnoses has climbed for more than a decade, with rates of childhood leukemia rising the most between 1998 and 2018. The American Cancer Society (ACS) said Leukemia remains the most prevalent at one-third of all pediatric cancer cases, though the death rate for brain cancer, the second most prevalent, was 23% higher in 2021 than for leukemia.1
- Narrative A, as provided by The New York Times. The rate at which children are beating cancer today is a tremendous success that should be celebrated. However, these numbers are usually in reference to five-year survival rates, which, for a child in particular, is devastatingly short. The reason pediatric cancer is so unique it that is often originates in utero, meaning it can progress before a baby is even born. With only 4% of federal cancer research funding going toward pediatric cancer, the US is far from reaching the 10-, 20-, or 40-year survival rates these children deserve.
- Narrative B, as provided by VOA. The problem isn't that cancer research isn't advancing fast enough, but rather that it's being applied inequitably. This report shows that White children over the past ten years were far more likely to survive cancer than their Black and Hispanic counterparts, which is a sign that certain populations are receiving more resources than others. Cancer won't be defeated until every patient, regardless of color, receives an equal amount of time, energy, and support.