Childhood Cancer: Statistics

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many children 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 10,450 children (younger than 15) and 5,330 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 1975 to 2010, the number of deaths from childhood cancer has decreased steadily by more than 50%. However, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in this age group after accidents. It is estimated that 1,350 deaths from cancer will occur this year in children younger than 15 and 610 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 detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. In general, the overall five-year survival rate for children and adolescents with cancer is 83%.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of children with cancer, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. 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 often 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 2014.

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