Childhood Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

In general, cancer in children and teenagers is uncommon, accounting for less than 1% of all cancer cases in the United States. This year, an estimated 10,380 children (younger than 15) and about 5,000 adolescents aged 15 to 19 will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States.

Most children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer can be treated successfully. From 1970 to 2011, the number of deaths from childhood cancer has decreased steadily by 67%. However, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children 0 to 14 years of age after accidents. It is estimated that 1,250 deaths from cancer will occur this year in children in this age group and 600 deaths from cancer in teens aged 15 to 19.

As explained in the Overview, there are several types of childhood cancer, and survival rates are different for each. The overall five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is found. In general, the overall five-year survival rate for children and adolescents with cancer is about 83%.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of children with cancer, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with a particular childhood cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2015, and the ACS website.

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