Facts About Childhood Cancer

If you want to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer, here are 10 facts you should know. The following list is provided by St. Baldrick’s Foundation (with added context about Kate.)

1. Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. 
It’s the second leading cause of death (following accidents) in children ages 5-14. 

2. Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.
That’s 300,000 kids around the world every year.

3. The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is 6. 
But you don’t have to be a child to be diagnosed with childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is diagnosed in all ages, from newborn infants to children and young adults. Kate was just 26 months old when she was diagnosed.

4. 80% of children diagnosed with cancer are in developing countries.
Childhood cancer is a global problem, and one institution can’t solve it alone.

5. The most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
This was the type of cancer Kate had. Even with the understanding that it’s the most common, the five year survival rate is only 90%. That’s a 90% chance your child will live FIVE YEARS after diagnosis. When your child is diagnosed at just two, that’s not an awful long life. Kate didn’t make it to that statistic.

6. In 80% of kids with cancer, the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed.
That’s why so many children with cancer need to begin treatment right away. Many adult cancers can be diagnosed early.

7. Much of what we know about treating adult cancers has been learned from childhood cancer research.

8. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer and hundreds of different subtypes.
The more rare types, when added together, account for about 30% of cancers in children and adolescents. But because so few children are diagnosed with each type, it’s very difficult to do research on these cancers.

9. One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive.
For the ones who do, the battle is never over.

10. Because of the treatments they had as kids, by the time they’re in their 30s or 40s, more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life- threatening conditions.