Trends in childhood cancer mortality as indicators of the quality of medical care in the developed world

Carlo La Vecchia, Fabio Levi, Franca Lucchini, Pagona Lagiou, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Eva Negri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND. Mortality from childhood cancer in general and childhood leukemia in particular has sharply declined in economically developed countries over the last 30 years, whereas the incidence of these diseases has remained essentially unaltered. Therefore, childhood malignancies can be used as tracers of accessibility to and effectiveness of medical care. The objective of this study was to compare the reduction of mortality from childhood cancer in general, and childhood leukemia in particular, in four economically developed areas of the world, to assess accessibility to and effectiveness of technologically advanced medical care. METHODS. The authors used data from the World Health Organization to compare the evolution over time of gender specific, age-adjusted mortality from childhood cancer in general and childhood leukemia in particular in the childhood (birth to age 14 years) populations of North America, western Europe, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand during the period 1960-1993. They assessed the evolution over time and the cumulative percentage representing the decline in mortality from childhood cancer and childhood leukemia in the four aforementioned areas of the world. RESULTS. The decline in mortality from both the disease entities considered and for both genders has been more pronounced in North America than in other economically developed areas of the world. CONCLUSIONS. When disease control depends on technologically advanced medical care, as in the case of cancer, the North American population is benefited by earlier and effective introduction of new therapeutic approaches. This conclusion does not apply to other childhood diseases, the incidence of which is higher among low-income groups and control of which depends on prevention rather than treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2223-2227
Number of pages5
JournalCancer
Volume83
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 1998

Keywords

  • Childhood leukemia
  • Childhood malignancies
  • Quality of care
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Trends in childhood cancer mortality as indicators of the quality of medical care in the developed world'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this