Findings of a new study have found that malignant brain tumors are the number one cause of deaths related to cancer in American adolescents and young adults between 15 and 39 years old, as well as the top cancer that occurs among those in the 15 to 19 years old group.

For the research, which was published in Neuro-Oncology, researchers used data from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the U.S. spanning the year 2008 up to 2012.

They found that brain and central nervous system, or CNS, tumors were the most prevalent type of cancer in people between 15 and 19 years old and the occurrence of other types of cancer rise with age. By age 34 to 39, brain and CNS tumors become the third most common cancer following breast and thyroid cancer.

"Cancer is a significant source of morbidity and mortality for adolescents and young adults (age 15-39 years) in the US," the researchers wrote in their study. "Death due to cancer is the fourth most common cause of death overall in this age group (8.78 deaths per 100,000 persons annually) with only accidents (32.95 deaths per 100,000), suicide (12.77 deaths per 100,000), and homicide (10.06 per 100,000) causing more deaths annually in this population between 2008 and 2012."

Study author Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said that the most common tumor type that they have observed in adults are glioblastomas and meningiomas [pdf] but there are more diversity in tumor types that they have observed in adolescent and young adult population.

Nearly 700,000 people in the U.S have brain and CNS tumors and 15 percent of these affects adolescents and young people during the 2008 to 2012 study period analyzed by the researchers. Adolescents and young people had about 10,600 brain and CNS tumors cases per year, 450 of which lead to death.

Elizabeth Wilson, president of the American Brain Tumor Association, which funded the study, said that brain tumor diagnosis can be particularly disruptive and cruel for people who are still finishing school, starting their careers and families.

Figures from the American Cancer Society have shown that cancer of the brain and spinal cord make up about 4.4 percent of all cancer-related deaths among U.S. adults and children.

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