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Childhood Cancers are Up While Adult Cancers Decline — What's Going On?

cancer, leukemia

Research is trying to explain why childhood cancers are on the rise.

A study on the cancer rates in California has made some surprising conclusions. While new cases of cancer among adults are decreasing significantly, childhood cancers are being diagnosed at a much higher rate.

There’s good news, which is that both age-groups are surviving cancer in greater numbers. Still, what is happening to the kids in California and, likely, other parts of the country?

According to California Watch, researchers speculate that a combination of genetic and environmental causes are leading to more leukemia in children. Leukemia is the No. 1 childhood cancer, accounting for 35 percent of cancers in children. The second-leading cancer is brain tumors.

One area that researchers are looking at closely are the use of household pesticides during pregnancy and when children are young. Families who used these products are at twice the risk of a child being diagnosed with leukemia, according to some studies overseas. Fathers who smoked also have children at higher risk.

As for the decline among adults, most is attributed to lower smoking rates overall. Also, when estrogen therapy was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer — changing some women’s therapies — rates in that category also dropped.

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