Cancer is the #1 cause of disease related death for children.
The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown.
Each year in the U.S. there are approximately 12,400 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer, and about 1,545 children will die from this nasty disease.
About one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before their 20th birthday.
Leukemias and cancers of the brain and central nervous system account for more than half of childhood cancers.
The most common type of leukemia in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, better known as ALL.
Currently there are estimated to be 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S. This equates to one in 640 young adults between the ages of 20 to 39 being a survivor of a childhood malignancy.
Although these children survived, they are not “healthy” or in the clear.
Two-thirds of those who do survive face at least one chronic health condition.
One quarter of survivors face a late-effect from treatment that is classified as severe or life-threatening.
Late-effects of treatment can include heart damage, second cancers, lung damage, infertility, cognitive impairment, growth deficits, hearing loss, and more. It is becoming increasingly apparent that childhood cancer “is for life.”
Children who are being treated for cancer are getting aggressive treatments while their bodies and brains are trying to develop. Therefor, late effects seen in these children include disabilities, chronic health conditions, and later battles with secondary cancers. It is very important that all childhood cancer survivors receive continuous monitoring and continued physical and psychosocial care throughout their adult lives.
Although survival rates have risen over the years, many types of childhood cancer continue to have a poor five year prognosis.
*Childhood cancer statistics provided by The National Cancer Institute.