|The causes of
childhood cancer are not well understood, but greater exposure to
environmental contaminants is a potential factor associated with its
appearance. Several studies suggest that exposures perinatally and of parents
prior to conception, to things like organic solvents, benzene and pesticides
are linked with appearance of cancer in offspring.
cancers are relatively rare (in epidemiological terms) and therefore,
difficult to study in samples of adequate size. Although the number of
children affected is small, there is some thought that childhood cancers have
increased over the last 25 years. In
Canada, we have few enough cases that it is difficult to establish the long
term trends. Over the last 10 to 15
years, incidence has hovered at around 16cases per 100K children.
|Certain types of
childhood cancers have shown considerable increases, namely, acute lymphoid
leukemia, tumours of the CNS and bone tumours. Exposures to pesticides pre-conceptionally,
prenatally and during childhood, both in the environmental and occupational
settings have been associated with moderate increases in childhood brain
tumours and leukemias.
other types of cancers are more difficult to link to the causal exposures
(and do not directly affect children), there is still good reason to prevent
exposure to carcinogenic substances at the youngest ages possible.