Cancer Trends 39 - Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer

This latest trends report on Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer (AYA), published by the National Cancer Registry, is the first report of its kind to include cancers in those up to 24 years of age. The report highlights an increase in incidence of childhood and AYA cancer between 1996 and 2020 and ongoing significant reductions in mortality, reflecting advances in early detection, treatment, and care.

Key findings:

  1. The most commonly diagnosed cancers in 0-15 year olds were brain and CNS tumours, leukaemias, and lymphomas, while epithelial tumours and melanomas, lymphomas, and brain and CNS tumours were the most commonly diagnosed cancers in 16-24 year olds.
  2. An average of 369 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 0-24 year olds per year during 2011-2020 (191 at ages 0-15, 178 at ages 16-24).
  3. While incidence rates are low, they have increased by 1.3% per year in 0-15 year olds, and 1.1% per year in 16–24 year olds, since 1996. However, there has been a notable fall in the rate of melanoma observed in 16-24 year old females.
  4. Five-year survival has increased from 82% (2002-2010 cases) to 87% (2011-2019) in 0-15 year olds and from 87% to 90% in 16-24 year olds, and ongoing increases in survival are reflected in long-term reductions in mortality.
  5. Of the 8974 children and AYA diagnosed with cancer between 1994 and 2020, 7354 (82%) were still alive at the end of 2020.

Briefing Notes:

This report uses the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC) coding system, which was developed specifically for childhood and AYA cancers. It includes non-malignant tumours of the brain and central nervous system.

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