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May 17, 1965

US Childhood Cancer Mortality Patterns, 1950-1959Etiologic Implications

JAMA. 1965;192(7):593-596. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080200011002

Cancer deaths in 39,235 children in the United States, 1950-1959, were studied with respect to age, sex, geography, and calendar-time. In leukemia mortality a towering peak at 4 years of age was observed among white children only. Lesser peaks at the same age were observed for malignant neoplasms of the kidney and central nervous system among whites and nonwhites. Similarity in mortality patterns suggests some common factor in the genesis of these three cancers. In lymphoma mortality the lack of significant variation by single year of age throughout childhood contrasts with the changes in leukemia mortality. This suggests that lymphoma should not be grouped with childhood leukemia in studies of etiology. The progressive rise in bone cancer mortality rates throughout childhood suggests that the genesis of bone cancer is related to rate of growth.