Childhood Cancer Facts
Childhood Cancer Facts

31 Serious Childhood Cancer Facts

Madeline Thatcher
By Madeline Thatcher, Associate Writer
Published July 11, 2019
  • Cancer is generally uncommon in children, and doctors are often unsure as to why children are affected, since causes for adult cancer are rarely the same in younger patients.[7]
  • Leukemia, a cancer that lives in bone marrow and blood cells, causes 30% of all childhood cancer cases. It is the most common type of childhood cancer.[3]
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors are the second most common kind of childhood cancer, and they generally start to grow in the lower part of the brain.[3]
  • Acute myeloid leukemia is the most deadly of childhood cancers, with only 63.9% chance of survival.[5]
  • Certain genetic mutations, such as Down syndrome, can increase the likelihood a child will get cancer.[7]
  • Children Cancer Fact
    Cancer affects children all over the world, and many doctors don't know why.
  • Most childhood cancers are caused by random gene mutations, meaning there is no way to prevent cancer before it begins to grow.[7]
  • Pediatric cancers, especially tumors, grow differently than those in adults. This caused doctors several years of failed tests and desires for a cure.[8]
  • Child mortality rates from cancer have declined almost 60% in the past 40 years.[4]
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children.[4]
  • Over 10,000 children in the United States were estimated to learn of a new cancer diagnosis in 2018.[4]
  • Over 250,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year.[6]
  • Only 20% of children in the world have access to medical care that can treat cancer.[6]
  • Low-income countries underreport childhood cancer statistics, particularly for infants and girls, due to difficult access to medical care, societal customs, and poor treatment options.[9]
  • Children with cancer are diagnosed at the average age of six.[5]
  • Sixty percent of childhood cancer survivors experience negative side effects in their later years, such as infertility, heart problems, and additional types of cancers.[5]
  • On average, 84.8% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive.[5]
  • Cancer Children Fight
    Even though cancer fights hard, kids fight harder.

  • Male children get cancer more often than female children.[1]
  • Cancer in children has risen since the 1980s, but some of that increase may be due to earlier detection and better reporting.[9]
  • Infection is the biggest reason for hospital admittance in children undergoing cancer treatment.[11]
  • The 20% of children who die from cancer do so, on average, by the age of 8.[2]
  • Chemo for children was first used in the 1950s. Previous medical expertise focused on making children comfortable as they died rather than finding a way to treat the disease.[8]
  • Child Chemo Cancer
    Chemotherapy is the most common form of cancer treatment for children, even thought it comes with devastating side effects.
  • Dr. Sidney Farber, one of the pioneers of childhood cancer research, created a research group in 1955 dedicated to learning more about cancerous diseases in children and finding ways to cure them.[8]
  • In the 1970s, chemotherapy became the most popular way to treat cancer, and doctors began to offer patients with leukemia a better chance of survival.[8]
  • The 1980s saw a rise in bone marrow transplants, which offered additional support to children with cancer.[8]
  • Federal funding for cancer research in children has decreased since the twentieth century, requiring private donors and foundations to provide monetary funds to search for and provide cures.[8]
  • There are very few drugs used to fight childhood cancer, and new innovations have not occurred in over two decades.[2]
  • Every day we do get closer to a cure. Three out of four children who are diagnosed with cancer will survive the disease, but that is not good enough. The loss of one child to this disease is too much.

    - Michael McCaul

  • It is difficult to study childhood cancer in non-human patients (like mice) due to a lack of available tissue for testing as well as the difficulty of growing cancer outside a human host.[11]
  • A study of Norewegian families with a child who had cancer found no major link to a higher divorce rate between parents. The only exception were parents with a child diagnosed with Wilms tumors, the most treatable type of childhood cancer, who did exhibit an increased risk for divorce after diagnosis.[12]
  • Siblings of children with cancer are prone to mental and emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression.[2]
  • Many childhood cancer survivors experience social and emotional side effects later in life, including difficulty finishing school, purchasing insurance, or finding a spouse.[11]
  • In recent years, books and films depicting children and teens with cancer have become incredibly popular, including Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, A Walk to Remember, and The Fault in Our Stars.[10]
  • Childhood Cancer: History and Hope INFOGRAPHIC
    Childhood Cancer Infographic Statistics

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