Cancer is the most common cause of death in children and young adults in the United States, with an estimated one in 10 deaths occurring in this age group. 1 Approximately 25-35% of cancer deaths among young people occur in their first year of life. 2
Children and young adults, although at a much higher risk than older adults, have far fewer cases of leukemia, lymphoma, and brain and other forms of cancer. 3 They also have very low rates of certain cancers, particularly breast, rectal, and liver cancers. 4
Lung and other cancers
The following is a summary of information about lung, stomach, and other types of tumors that are among the leading causes of cancer deaths among children, adolescents, and young adults; the cause and type of each cancer that they have; their incidence in their age group; and when they begin to appear, and if and when they usually appear.
Meal onset leukemia (MEK)
Meal onset leukemia (MEK) is a rare, progressive and aggressive malignancy characterized by a loss of bone marrow and its blood-forming cells. It is characterized by the appearance of both normal, white blood cell and a tumor-like growth on the affected organ (mucosal), which is sometimes called a “fever” or “mucosal tumor.” 5 MEK tumors are the most common type of primary tumors in young people ages 10 to 15. The incidence of MEK cancer increases sharply with age. 5
The first symptoms of MEK cancer can appear from one week to one year after initial symptoms of the tumor. In children and adolescents, the tumor usually appears on the side of the head where other symptoms are present. It typically appears on the right side. In adults, MEK cancer is present in the bones of the legs and arms, and usually affects both males and females. MEK cancers are generally not fatal.
Mesothelioma and Hodgkin’s disease
Mesothelioma and Hodgkin’s disease are the leading causes of cancer deaths in children and adolescents. Both of these diseases have an incidence of approximately one in every 400.1 Each year, in the United States, approximately 5,200 men and 1,200 women aged 10 to 14 are diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is classified as a grade 1 or level 2 cancer by the American Cancer Society.2 At the same time, nearly 5,000 children and adolescents
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