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40% rise in children with cancer blamed on modern lifestyle

By Harriet Line

The number of cancer cases in children has leapt by 40% in less than two decades because of pollution, pesticides and gadgets, new analysis shows.

There are 1,300 more diagnoses of the disease a year in people under the age of 25 compared to 1998 - costing the NHS £130m extra a year.

Cases of colon cancer in children are up 200%, while thyroid cancer cases have more than doubled. Ovarian and cervical cancer cases have also seen stark rises - up by 70% and 50% respectively, analysis of ONS data by the charity Children with Cancer UK found.

Around 4,000 children and young people develop cancer each year and it is the leading cause of death in children aged one to 14 in the UK.

The 40% jump in cases over 16 years is partially attributed to population growth, as the incidence rate per 100,000 people has risen by 30%.

However, professor Denis Henshaw, scientific director at Children with Cancer UK, said: "We were shocked to see the figures, and it's the modern lifestyle I'm afraid. Many items on the list of environmental causes are now known to be carcinogenic, such as air pollution and pesticides and solvents."

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