Childhood Cancer Facts & Challenges

  • 1 in 285 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • 47 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.
  • The average age a child is diagnosed with cancer is 6.
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
  • Childhood cancer rates have increased by 24% in the last 40 years.
  • There are 16 types of childhood cancer and over 100 subtypes.
  • The genetics and molecular biology of childhood cancers are different from adult cancers, but we still use adult treatments for children.

95% of childhood cancer survivors develop treatment-related health problems, including:

  • Organ damage (Liver, Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Bladder, etc.)
  • Infertility
  • Nerve Damage and Chronic Pain
  • Secondary Cancers
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Learning Disorders and Memory Impairment
  • Vision and Hearing Impairment
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.
  • 250 children lose their life to cancer every day.
  • 91,250 kids lose their life to cancer every year.
  • 17% of children diagnosed with cancer will die within 5 years of diagnosis. 35% of children diagnosed with cancer will die within 30 years of diagnosis.
  • 1 in 530 young adults (age 20-39) is a childhood cancer survivor.
  • There are 375,000 adult survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S.
  • The 5-year survival rates for childhood cancer depend on the type of cancer, ranging from 0% for DIPG (a type of brain cancer) to 90% for ALL (a type of leukemia).
  • The Pharmaceutical Industry does not invest in childhood cancer research because the adult cancer market is larger and more profitable. In other words, childhood cancer research is "not a good investment." Learn More
  • Federal research funding for ALL childhood cancers combined is $195 million. That’s only 4% of the $5.2 billion cancer research budget and a fraction of the funding for other single adult cancer subtypes.
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  • For many childhood cancers, we are using the SAME treatments that were used in the 1970’s.
  • Since 1980, HUNDREDS of cancer drugs have been approved for adults, but only TWELVE cancer drugs have been approved for use in children and only THREE have been developed specifically for children. 
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American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Children’s Oncology Group,
CureSearch Foundation, Laurie Orloski, PharmD and Joe Baber, 2015