Facts and Figures

Facts and Figures about Childhood Cancer:

Every year 1600 Canadian children are diagnosed with cancer; more than 25 children in Newfoundland and Labrador. Every year 227 Canadian children die from the disease; Advances in cancer research have significantly increased the odds of survival.

A shift toward multidisciplinary care has improved outcomes and decreased morbidity rates by more than 50 per cent since the 1950s; 40 years ago essentially no one survived childhood leukemia; today, 80 per cent of young people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia are alive five years after diagnosis.

Treating a child with cancer demands a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week commitment of specialized care. Childhood cancers are generally more successfully treated than cancers in adults because the cancers grow more quickly and are, therefore, more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation. Childhood cancer treatments may include chemo, radiation, surgery or bone marrow transplants.

Childhood and adolescent cancers have an enormous impact on the whole family. Young families are the most affected as they are forced to make difficult and often costly sacrifices affecting their employment and career development while struggling to navigate the health care and social welfare systems and maintain a stable environment for all of their children.

Childhood and adolescent cancers often have an impact that continues far beyond the end of treatment. Survivors and their families frequently require ongoing mental, physical, and financial support. Childhood cancer has a devastating effect on parents, siblings, extended family, friends and communities everywhere.

Pediatric cancer, representing just 2% of cancer cases and treated by a relatively small group of professionals spread among 17 tertiary care centres across the country, struggles for attention in the big cancer control world.

Because of its unique challenges in treatment and care, childhood cancer cannot be lumped in with the general adult cancer world.