_ Childhood

14.9 per 100,000 < 15 years of age

16.4 per 100,000 < 20 years of age

_ Adult

470.1 per 100,000.

Malignancies in childhood are relative rare and prognosis has been improving in the last three decades as a result of more accurate diagnoses and improved treatment strategies. Adult malignancies occurring after 20 years of age are 20-30 times more common in general.


•SEER Cancer Statistics Review data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2007.


1. Identified familial and genetic factors 5-15%)

2. Known Environmental exposures & exogenous factors (<5-10%)

3. Unknown 75-90 %

In a small percentage of childhood cancers, familial or genetic factors are thought to predispose the child to cancer. An even smaller percentage of childhood cancer has an identified environmental link.

Although some studies have concluded that genetic factors make a minor contribution to most types of cancer (Lichtenstein et al. (2000) studied 44,788 pairs of twins to determine the relation role of genetics vs. environmental factors in cancer), the majority of childhood cancers, however, remain poorly understood and causes are unknown. It is through the vigilance and investigation by practitioners when a new case of childhood cancer is diagnosed that causative factors are found.

There is no doubt that it is a combination of factors acting concurrently and sequentially that are involved with any individual case of childhood cancer.


•Birch JM. Genes & Cancer. Arch Dis Child, 1999, 80:1-3.


Associated with each type of Childhood Cancer:

1) Known

a) Genetic/congenital disorders

b) Age peak

c) Ethnics

d) Gender

e) Environmental

2) Suggestive

a) Family history

b) Reproductive factors

c) Environmental

3) Limited

a) Family History

b) Environmental