Pediatric Cancer Facts

Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children in the U.S. More children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.

  • One in 5 children will die in the first five years after diagnosis.
  • The incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging 0.6% per year. Since the mid 1970’s resulting in an overall increase of 24% over the last 40 years.
  • 1 in 285 children was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.
  • 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer.
  • The average age at diagnosis is 8.
  • Childhood cancer is not one disease – there are more than 12 major types of pediatric cancer and over 100 subtypes.
  • Many adult cancers can be diagnosed early. In 80% of kids cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed.

Only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is dedicated to childhood cancer research.

  • Since 1980, only three drugs have been approved for use in children compared with hundreds of drugs developed specifically for adults.
  • For many of the childhood cancers, the same treatments that existed in the 1970’s continue with few, if any, changes.

Long Term Survival

  • Approximately ⅔ of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health related issue; these health related issues are side effects of either the cancer or more commonly, the result of its treatment.
  • About thirty five percent of children diagnosed with cancer will die within 30 years of diagnosis.
  • Those that survive the five years have an eight times greater mortality rate due to the increased risk of liver and heart disease and increased risk for reoccurrence of the original cancer or of a secondary cancer.