Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer Information

Having knowledge is one of the keys to awareness, early detection, and dealing with childhood cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports a broad range of research to better understand the causes, biology, and patterns of childhood cancers and to identify the best ways to successfully treat children with cancer. In the context of clinical trials, researchers are treating and learning from young cancer patients. Researchers are also following childhood cancer survivors to learn about health and other issues they may face as a result of their cancer treatment.

Childhood Cancer Facts

Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. Over 12,400 children (in the United States) are diagnosed with cancer each year.  That’s a classroom full of children every single day, year after year. Approximately one in 330 young people will be diagnosed with cancer by age 20. About 4,000 children die from cancer each year. That’s 11 children every single day, every single year.

Although pediatric cancer death rates have declined, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. These are some major types of cancer in children from ages 0 to 14 years. Acute lymphocytic leukemia, brain, central nervous system and neuroblastoma, which accounts for over half of new cases.

Childhood Cancer Symptoms

Continued, unexplained weight loss

Headaches, often with vomiting, at night or early morning

Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs

Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, next, chest, pelvis, or armpits

Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash

Constant infections
A whitish color behind the pupil
Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist
Recurrent fevers of unknown origin

Although it is unlikely that your child will develop cancer, as a parent, you need to be aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer. Observe your child for any sudden, persistent changes in health or behavior as listed above. Since most of the symptoms of cancer can also be attributed to benign conditions, the diagnosis of cancer can be a long process. You must trust your own instinct and work as a team with your doctor, using your knowledge of your child and your doctor’s knowledge of medicine to protect your child’s health.