Facts about Pediatric Cancer

The loss of a child to cancer is one of the worst tragedies a family can face. Each death means the loss of an entire lifetime. And survivors face serious medical complications, secondary cancers, cognitive impairments and shortened lifespans.

Facts about Pediatric Cancer Incidence and Mortality

Incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years.

  • “NCI’s Pediatric Cancer Research and Pediatric Cancer-Related Activities,” page 7, last paragraph.  (citing incidence of invasive childhood cancers rising from 11.8 cases for 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 cases per 100,000 children in 2004).  Report by Francis S. Collins, Director of National Institute of Health,  to Congressman Todd Tiahar and David Obey, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, as  requested in House Report No. 111-220, page 109.  This report was delivered July 19, 2010.

Each year around 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US, that’s more than a classroom of kids a day.

35,000 children are currently in treatment for cancer.

Some 25% of all kids who are diagnosed with cancer die.

  • Some pediatric brain tumors, such as brain stem gliomas and pontine gliomas, are terminal upon diagnosis and no new protocols have been developed in 30 years.
  • Many pediatric cancers, including neuroblastoma and disseminated medulloblastoma, are terminal upon progression or recurrence.

More children die of cancer every year than adults died in 9/11.

Cancer kills more children than AIDs, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined.

The average age of death for a child with cancer is 8, causing a child to lose 69 years of expected life.

The death of a child is one of the most traumatic events a family might face.

  • Families who have lost children are often financially and emotionally depleted.

Facts about Pediatric Cancer Survivors

74% of childhood cancer survivors have chronic illnesses, and some 40% of childhood cancer survivors have severe illnesses or die from such illnesses.

Childhood cancer survivors are at significant risk for secondary cancers later in life.

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.

Physical and neurocognitive disabilities resulting from treatment may prevent childhood cancer survivors from fully participating in school, social activities and eventually work, which can cause depression and feelings of isolation.

Childhood cancer survivors have difficulty getting married and obtaining jobs, health and life insurance.

“Social Outcomes in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study Cohort”, Journal of Clinical Oncology, February 17, 2009.

National Action Plan for Childhood Cancer, Report on the National Summit Meetings on Childhood Cancer. American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/downloads/PRO/childhood_cancer_action_plan.pdf

Comments are closed.