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Childhood Cancer Statistics

Relative to the prevalence of many forms of adult cancer, childhood cancer is, statistically speaking, relatively rare.  Yet, despite its rarity, childhood cancer remains the number one disease killer of children in the United States today. In low-income and middle-income countries, scientists and physicians now believe that although mortality from infectious diseases is declining, mortality from childhood cancer (even forms of cancer now considered “treatable” in the United States) is increasing.  Often, the story is far more personal than bare-faced statistics: too many of us know a child currently battling cancer, a childhood cancer survivor, or a family who has lost a loved one to this terrible disease.  When news of this disease hits your school, your town, or your family, childhood cancer doesn’t feel “rare.”   

At the American Childhood Cancer Organization, we believe that knowing your enemy is part of fighting it. A critical problem in the fight against childhood cancer has been a lack of coordinated information-gathering that could facilitate more research, enable better treatment options, and empower families and survivors. Therefore, a central element of our mission is helping to ensure that policymakers, researchers, and leaders in the healthcare community, in the United States and abroad, have the tools they need to collect data and share as much information on childhood cancer as possible.

Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children in America.

Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.

Each year in the U.S. alone, 15,780 children aged 0-19 will be diagnosed with cancer.

Approximately 40,000 children in the U.S. are on active treatment at any given time.

Globally there are more than 400,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year.

20% of children with cancer in the U.S. will not survive it.

Two thirds of childhood cancer survivors face at least one of the following: Secondary Cancers; Heart Damage; Lung Damage; Infertility; Chronic Hepatitis; Alterations in Growth and Development; Impaired Cognitive Abilities; Psycho-Social Impact.

One quarter of childhood cancer survivors face a late effect from treatment that is classified as severe or life-threatening.

Globally, 44% of of children with cancer will die before they are diagnosed.

Only 3 state legislatures have taken direct action towards childhood cancer research and support.

Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes.

Children with cancer in high income countries are ten times more likely to survive five years than than children with cancer in low-income countries.

The estimated 5-year net survival rate for children with cancer in high-income countries is 79.8%. In low-income countries, that number is 7.4%.

In 2020, an estimated 181,000 childhood cancer cases will go undiagnosed. That’s almost one third of all cases.

You can help change these numbers.

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