Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in kids in the United States more than all other major childhood diseases combined.
Each year, about 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer and about 2,500 of them will die. On average, 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer every school day in the United States—that’s about two classrooms of kids.
The incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years.
While the overall survival rates for “pediatric cancer” as a whole have improved, the incidence rate is increasing and there are still many kids’ cancers with dismal prognosis, some still have no possible treatment options.
In the past 35 years, only four new drugs were approved to treat childhood cancer, in contrast to numerous drugs developed to treat adults.
A significant improvement in “survival rates” for some childhood cancers in recent decades means that now there are over 400,000 survivors suffering the effects of toxic chemotherapies.
As many as 95% of childhood cancer “survivors” are likely to experience at least one late effect of treatment, with a third suffering life-threatening and chronic side effects and another third suffering moderate to severe health problems. Kids’ cancer “survivors” die earlier than their peers. The most common late effects of childhood cancer are neurocognitive and psychological, cardiopulmonary and secondary cancers.
Kids’ cancer survivorship is measured in 5 years. Meaning if a child is diagnosed at 1 year old and survives to his 6th birthday, he is a “survivor” even if he dies at 7 due to the toxicity of the chemotherapy.
Children treated for cancer report significantly higher psychosocial issues than their peers, including depression and isolation. Young adult survivors of childhood cancers are four times more likely to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than their siblings.