• Cancer is still the leading cause of death from disease among U.S. children over one year of age.1 Cancer kills more children than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, asthma and juvenile diabetes combined.2
  • In the United States, among children, from birth to age 19, more than 18,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year.3
  • This year, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, will be diagnosed in about 3,000 U.S. children, making it the most common pediatric cancer.4
  • Childhood cancer survival rates in the United States have increased from less than 20 percent in the 1960s to almost 80 percent today.1
  • The increase in childhood cancer survival rates can be partly attributed to the progress made against the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as advances in treatment and research made in the past few decades. Researchers have made strides against pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, raising survival rates from just 4 percent 50 years ago to 94 percent today.5
  • While progress against childhood cancer has been made, cure rates for some pediatric cancers remain below 50 percent.3
  • The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown.
  • Childhood cancer is not one disease entity, but rather is a spectrum of different malignancies. Cancers found in children are biologically different from those seen in adults.
  • The 10 most common types of childhood cancer are as follows3:
    • Leukemia (acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia)
    • CNS, brain, and spinal cord tumors
    • Lymphomas, (including Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma)
    • Skin cancer and melanomas
    • Soft tissue tumors (including rhabdomyosarcoma)
    • Germ cell tumors
    • Neuroblastoma
    • Bone cancers (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)
    • Renal cancer (including Wilms tumor)
    • Retinoblastoma


  • Among the major types of childhood cancers, leukemias and cancers of the brain and central nervous system account for more than half of new cases.1

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