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Brain cancer overtakes leukemia as deadliest cancer for U.S. children

Staff Writer |
Brain cancer has surpassed leukemia as the leading cause of cancer deaths for children and teenagers in the United States, a new study has found.

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In 2014, brain cancer accounted for nearly 30 percent of the childhood cancer deaths between the ages of one and 19 in the United States, while leukemia attributed to around a quarter of the deaths, according to a report published on Friday by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

However, in 1999, those percentages were reversed, it said.

The new numbers are a result of the improvement of leukemia treatment as well as the lack of progress on brain cancer, said the health center, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. < "It's a milestone moment, a kind of changing of the guard," leading author of the report Sally Curtin said, adding that the change reflected a decline in deaths from leukemia instead of an increase of brain cancer deaths.

Some types of leukemia were almost universally fatal a generation ago, but now they are universally treatable, she said.

Leukemia is a group of cancers that usually begin in bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. Treatment of the disease may involve a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplant.

In the United States, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death for children, accounting for 10 percent of childhood deaths in 2014.

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