Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children – more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3%.
Childhood cancer is not a single disease, but rather many different types that fall into 12 major categories. Common adult cancers are extremely rare in children, yet many cancers are almost exclusively found in children.
One out of every five children diagnosed with cancer dies of cancer.
Common cancer symptoms in children – fever, swollen glands, anemia, bruises and infection – are often suspected to be, and at the early stages are treated as, other childhood illnesses.
Three out of every five children diagnosed with cancer suffer from long-term or late onset side effects.
Childhood Cancers are cancers that primarily affect children, teens, and young adults. When cancer strikes children and young adults it affects them differently than it would an adult.
Attempts to detect childhood cancers at an earlier stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, have largely failed. Young patients often have a more advanced stage of cancer when first diagnosed. (Approximately 20% of adults with cancer show evidence the disease has spread, yet almost 80% of children show that the cancer has spread to distant sites at the time of diagnosis).
Cancer in childhood occurs regularly, randomly, and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region.
The cause of most childhood cancers are unknown and at present, cannot be prevented. (Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation and other exposure to cancer-causing agents).
Nationally, childhood cancer is 20 times more prevalent than pediatric AIDS yet pediatric AIDS receives four times the funding that childhood cancer receives.
On the average, 12,500 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year.
On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer.
On the average, every high school in America has two students who are a current or former cancer patient.
In the U.S. about 46 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every single school day. That’s about the equivalent of two entire classrooms.
While the cancer death rate has dropped more dramatically for children than for any other age group, 2,300 children and teenagers will die each year from cancer.
Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet, some forms of childhood cancers have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is elusive.
Several childhood cancers continue to have a very poor prognosis, including: brain stem tumors, metastatic sarcomas, relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.