Facts about Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer Facts

  • Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer in children.
  • There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.
  • Cancer kills more children than any other disease, more than Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes and Pediatric AIDS combined.
  • Sadly, over 2,300 children with cancer die each year.
  • Every school day 46 children are diagnosed.
  • 1 in 330 children will have the disease by age 20.
  • Cancers in very young children are highly aggressive and behave unlike malignant diseases at other times in life.
  • 80% of children have metastasized cancer at the time of their diagnosis. At diagnosis, only 20% of adults with cancer show evidence that the disease has spread or metastasized.
  • Detecting childhood cancers at an early stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, is extremely difficult.
  • Cancer symptoms in children include fever, swollen glands, anemia, bruises and infection are often suspected to be, and at the early stages are treated as, other childhood illnesses.
  • Even with insurance coverage, a family will have out-of pocket expenses of about $40,000 per year, not including travel.
  • Treatment can continue for several years, depending on the type of cancer and the type of therapy given.

Causes of Childhood Cancer

  • Every family is potentially at risk.
  • In almost all cases, childhood cancers arise from non-inherited mutations (or changes) in the genes of growing cells.
  • As these errors occur randomly and unpredictably, there is currently no effective way to predict or prevent them.

Cancer Research Funding

  • Nationally, childhood cancer is 20x more prevalent than pediatric AIDS.
  • Pediatric AIDS receives 4x the funding that childhood cancer receives.
  • In one month there are 2x as many deaths from childhood cancer as pediatric AIDS for the entire year.
  • Only 3% of the National Cancer Institute Budget goes toward pediatric cancer research.
  • September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, which nationally goes unrecognized.
  • Currently there are between 30,000 ? 40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.
  • Young patients often have a more advanced stage of cancer when first diagnosed. Approximately 20% of adults with cancer show evidence of metastasis at diagnosis, yet almost 80% of children have metastases at diagnosis.
  • Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet some forms of childhood cancer have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is illusive.
  • There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.
  • The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) federal budget for 2003 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%.