There are nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the United States, many who were diagnosed when they were younger than 21. As of 2010, there are more than 370,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States. Over the last thirty years, improved treatments and better supportive care have helped increase survival rates (percentage of children who live after cancer is detected) for many childhood cancers. Today, 83% of children and adolescents with cancer will live at least five years or more after treatment ends. Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research on childhood cancers.
The most common childhood cancers are:
- Leukemia, which makes up 26% of all childhood cancers. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood leukemia.
- Brain tumors and other tumors of the central nervous system are the second most common childhood cancer and make up 18% of all childhood cancers.
Read about other types of childhood cancer.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2014.
Although treatment works very well for most children with cancer, many treatments cause side effects called late effects that can occur months or even years after treatment ends. Late effects can occur almost anywhere in the body and include physical problems, such as heart and lung problems and second cancers, and emotional and cognitive (memory, thinking, and attention) problems, such as anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties. It is important for all children who received cancer treatment to get lifelong follow-up care.
The Children's Oncology Group (COG) has studied the physical and psychological effects that childhood cancer survivors face. Based on these studies, COG has created recommendations for long-term follow-up care for childhood cancer survivors at www.survivorshipguidelines.org.