BackgroundMarked reductions in childhood cancer mortality occurred over the last decades in high-income countries and, to a lesser degree, in middle-income countries. This study aimed to monitor mortality trends in the Americas and Australasia, focusing on areas showing unsatisfactory trends.
MethodsAge-standardized mortality rates per 100,000 children (aged 0-14 years) from 1990 to 2017 (or the last available calendar year) were computed for all neoplasms and 8 leading childhood cancers in countries from the Americas and Australasia, using data from the World Health Organization database. A joinpoint regression was used to identify changes in slope of mortality trends for all neoplasms, leukemia, and neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS) for major countries.
ResultsOver the last decades, childhood cancer mortality continued to decrease by approximately 2% to 3% per year in Australasian countries (ie, Japan, Korea, and Australia), by approximately 1.5% to 2% in North America and Chile, and 1% in Argentina. Other Latin American countries did not show any substantial decrease. Leukemia mortality declined in most countries, whereas less favorable trends were registered for CNS neoplasms, particularly in Latin America. Around 2016, death rates from all neoplasms were 4 to 6 per 100,000 boys and 3 to 4 per 100,000 girls in Latin America, and 2 to 3 per 100,000 boys and approximately 2 per 100,000 girls in North America and Australasia.
ConclusionsChildhood cancer mortality trends declined steadily in North America and Australasia, whereas they were less favorable in most Latin American countries. Priority must be given to closing the gap by providing high-quality care for all children with cancer worldwide.
Lay summaryAdvances in childhood cancer management have substantially improved the burden of these neoplasms over the past 40 years, particularly in high-income countries. This study aimed to monitor recent trends in America and Australasia using mortality data from the World Health Organization. Trends in childhood cancer mortality continued to decline in high-income countries by approximately 2% to 3% per year in Japan, Korea, and Australia, and 1% to 2% in North America. Only a few Latin American countries showed favorable trends, including Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, whereas other countries with limited resources still lagged behind.