Diagnosis and Survival

  • In 2024, it is expected that more than 17,000 families will hear the words, “Your child has cancer” That translates to approximately 46 families a day.
  • Cancer continues to be the #1 cause of disease-related death for children.
  • Today, treatment advancements have increased the survival rate to 85%, when averaging all pediatric cancers. In 1975, overall survival rates for children and adolescents (5 years after diagnosis) was about 50%.
  • More common cancers like leukemia have survival rates of over 90%, but in others, like Ewing Sarcoma, the survival rate drops closer to 65% and for a brain cancer known as diffuse midline gliomas (or DIPG) the survival rate is essentially 0%.
  • Approximately 1 in 260 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.
  • There are approximately 40,000 children and adolescents treated for cancer each year.

Cancer Funding is lagging for Pediatric Oncology

  • Until recently, only 4% of the federal cancer research budget was allocated specifically to pediatric cancer. While more recent evaluations have identified that percentage as closer to 8% due to broader definitions and more overall funding, there is still a desperate need for increased funding.*
  • Pediatric oncologists and researchers experience firsthand how the lack of federal research dollars stifles momentum in pediatric cancer research and drug development.
  • Research for children with cancer, especially for those with sarcomas and brain cancer, lags nearly two decades behind their adult counterparts.
  • Pharmaceutical companies see even less incentive to invest in the research needed to test experimental therapies in children because of the small patient population.
  • Pediatric Cancer researchers must rely on corporate or private foundations, like the Children’s Cancer Foundation, for funding their research.

Childhood Cancer is Unique

  • Common adult cancers (lung, breast, colon, and others) rarely occur in children or adolescents.
  • Childhood cancers tend to be more aggressive than adult cancers.
  • Some cancers, like osteosarcoma that adolescents develop, are remarkably similar to the osteosaroma that dogs develop.
  • Childhood cancers are largely due to genetic changes that develop into pediatric cancer are unknown and therefore are largely not preventable.

Late Effects

  • Late Effects are health problems that occur later in life following cancer treatments that harms the growing body’s organs, tissues and bones 1
  • Nearly 60% of pediatric cancer survivors experience severe complications in adulthood
  • Late Effects can include fertility problems, secondary cancers, and increased risk of other health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Impacts on the Family

  • One in four families lose more than 40% of their annual household income as a result of childhood cancer treatment
  • Parents and siblings have reported PTSD and other psychological impacts from the cancer treatment process.