STAFF REPORTER THE survival rate of children diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5 in Spain is over 70 percent but the incidence of the disease occurs at a rate of 137.9 cases for every million inhabitants up to the age 14, reported the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid yesterday.

The survey on “Cancer in Spain from 1975 to 2006” said however, that little is still known about the long-term effects of childhood cancer. Malignant tumours continue to be the second highest cause of death amongst under 15-year-olds, superseded only by accidents, claimed the report.

Genetics, researchers said, have an influential part to play in this type of cancer but there are also environmental factors to blame such as exposure to radiation. In spite of research over the past 30 years, the cause of tumours in children often remains a mystery.

Fortunately, the study reveals that infant mortality as a result of cancer has dropped significantly. In children, data shows, the number who died betweeen 1977 and 1981 was 1'941 but the figure had declined to 571 from 2002 to 2006.

The most virulent form of cancer to strike children is leukemia which was responsible for 732 deaths from 1977 to 1981 and 227 from 2002 to 2006.
Looking at the incidence of child mortality rate caused by cancer across the regions of Spain each year, the Balearics is 11th on the list with 31.81 sufferers for every one million head of population. The highest incidence in the country is in Cantabria with 52.16 deaths per million head of population per year.