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Arch Med Res. 2000 Sep-Oct;31(5):526-31.

Pattern of childhood cancer mortality in Mexico.

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Laboratorio de OncologĂ­a Experimental, Mexico City, Mexico.


Public and governmental concern regarding increasing cancer mortality trends in children in Mexico led us to investigate the current situation of childhood cancer in this country, as well as to discuss the reasons for which no decline in total and childhood cancer mortality has been documented during the past decades. The data used for analysis of total cancer mortality and study of the trends in mortality of specific childhood cancer in Mexico were retrieved from official Mexican Cancer Mortality Statistics for the period of 1955-1995, as well as from the latest official death records of the Mexican National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics. Actual mortality rates from all sites of cancer in Mexico show a tendency to increase in adults and in children over the last decades. The mortality rate due to all malignant neoplasms in the Mexican population increased significantly, from 28.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1955 to 52.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1995, whereas the rate of total mortality tended to decrease. The death rate among Mexican children under 15 years of age from all malignant neoplasms increased from 1980-1995 by 20.3%. Although these findings offer some support for the suggestion that socioeconomic factors and delayed diagnosis and treatment may be the major contributors to childhood cancer death rates in Mexico, other explanations cannot be excluded. Further and more detailed research into the nature of the influence of environmental exposures, geographical distribution-including rural vs. city life-and purely biological factors concerned with the cancer situation is warranted. Predictions indicate that the increase of both total and childhood cancer mortality will continue. The pattern in the epidemiology of childhood diseases is changing in view of better national health measures to control infectious diseases, diarrheas, and neonatal problems. All these measures would lead to an increase in the incidence of childhood cancer in children who previously died of other causes. Therefore, improved registry, early diagnosis, better knowledge of the epidemiologic pattern of childhood cancer, appropriate treatment, and greater resources are necessary to solve this emerging health problem in Mexico.

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