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Childhood Cancer Facts

Facts about Childhood Cancer

Incidences of Childhood Cancer

  • Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region.
  • In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
  • The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
  • The incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years.
  • In the last 40 years, the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased from 10% to nearly 90% today.  But, for many rare childhood cancers, the survival rate is much less.
  • In the United States, 1 in 300 kids are diagnosed with cancer before age 20 – over 15,000/year
  • Here in the US, roughly 80% of kids survive 5 years. 20% of those survivors die prematurely due to original cancer, a secondary cancer or effects of treatments.
  • There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors with previous childhood cancer diagnoses in the United States.
  • The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown, and for the most part they cannot be prevented. A few conditions, such as Down syndrome, other specific chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, and ionizing radiation exposures, explain a small percentage of cases. Children with AIDS have an increased risk of developing certain cancers, predominantly non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma.



  • 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die within 5-years
  • 12% of children who are diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
  • Worldwide nearly 100,000 children die annually from childhood cancers.
  • Many pediatric cancers are terminal upon progression or recurrence.
  • Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer for kids in the United States.  Childhood cancer takes more kids every year than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, asthma and AIDS combined.


Long-Term Effects

  • 98% of survivors suffer from a chronic health condition by the age of 45, including pulmonary, hearing, cardiac and other problems related either to the cancer or treatments.
  • Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed.
  • Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function, or if radiation is given at a very young age, limiting the ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk.
  • Childhood cancer survivors are at significant risk for secondary cancers later in life.

Lack of Funding

  • Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
  • Kids don’t vote so we have to be their voice.  96% of Federal funding for research is for adult cancers, leaving on 4% for childhood cancers.
  • Funding from large cancer organization does not help childhood cancer research the way it should.  Less than 1% of American Cancer Society’s total donations were directed toward childhood cancer research.
  • Currently 900 adult cancer drugs are in the pipeline for development.  Unfortunately, very little research and development is taking place for childhood cancer drugs and treatments.  1/2 of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old.

awareness + funding + research= cure