(HealthDay News) — From 2008 to 2017, the incidence of malignant brain tumors decreased for all ages combined but increased among children and adolescents, according to a report published online Aug. 24 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Kimberly D. Miller, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the contemporary burden of malignant and nonmalignant brain and other central nervous system tumors by histology, anatomic site, age, sex, and race/ethnicity.

The researchers found that the incidence rates of malignant brain tumors decreased by 0.8 percent annually from 2008 to 2017 for all ages combined, but among children and adolescents, there was a 0.5 to 0.7 percent increase per year.

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Males and non-Hispanic Whites had the highest incidence of malignant brain tumors, while females and non-Hispanic Blacks had the highest rates for nonmalignant tumors. For all malignant brain tumors combined, five-year relative survival increased from 23 percent in 1975 to 1977 to 36 percent in 2009 to 2015; larger gains were seen among younger age groups.

Less improvement in older age groups was mainly due to the increased burden of glioblastoma; during the same period, glioblastoma survival increased from 4 to 7 percent.

“Although the molecular understanding of how brain cancers differ from each other is advancing rapidly, we continue to know little about why these tumors develop in the first place,” Miller said said in a statement. “To facilitate greater understanding, it [is] critical to have access to timely, comprehensive data on occurrence. This is particularly important to understand the causes of sex, age, and racial/ethnic differences, especially for rarer subtypes and among understudied populations.”

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