childhood cancer, pediatric cancer, health disparities


Background. Michigan has declining economic conditions and factories that release pollutants. During the period 1999-2012, only 10 out of 50 states had an overall cancer incidence rate that was higher than that in Michigan. It is not known how children’s cancer rates in Michigan vary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and year as well as how these rates compare to those in the U.S.

Method: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention WONDER database obtained cancer incidence and mortality data from cancer registries and death certificates. We compared age-adjusted incidence and mortality cancer rates by gender, race/ethnicity, and year for children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 years in Michigan and the U.S. for the period 1999-2012.

Results. Males in Michigan had higher incidence rates of cancer than females in both Michigan and the U.S. Non-Hispanic Whites had higher cancer incidence rates than people of all other races/ethnicities in Michigan. The childhood cancer incidence rates increased for all racial/ethnic groups except for Hispanic Whites in Michigan during the period 1999-2012. Incidence rates increased more so in Michigan compared to the U.S. for some racial/ethnic groups such as non-Hispanic Whites during the period 1999-2012. Hispanic Whites in all age categories had higher cancer mortality rates than people of all other races/ethnicities in Michigan. Mortality rates for both males and females exhibited a downward trend from 1999 to 2002 in both Michigan and the U.S.

Conclusions. Males, non-Hispanic Whites, and Hispanic Whites tended to be disproportionately affected by cancer in Michigan. Future research should investigate the relationship of genetic determinants, socio-economic factors, prenatal behaviors, and air pollution with cancer rates among racial/ethnic groups in Michigan.