© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
Watch two videos -- Childhood Cancer Survivorship Overview, with Gregory Reaman, MD and Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment, with Lisa Diller, MD, adapted from this content.
There are about 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, many who were diagnosed when they were under the age of 21. Over the last thirty years, improved treatment strategies and better supportive care have resulted in increased survival rates for many childhood cancers. Today, 75% of children and adolescents with cancer will survive ten years or more after treatment.
The most common childhood cancers are:
- Leukemia, which accounts for 34% of all childhood cancers. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of leukemia in children.
- Brain tumors and other tumors of the central nervous system are the second most common childhood cancer and make up 27% of all childhood cancers.
- Lymphoma, both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin, makes up about 8% of all childhood cancers.
Read about other types of childhood cancer.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2011 and the National Cancer Institute.
Although most children are successfully treated for cancer, the treatment can cause side effects known as late effects that occur months, or even years, after treatment is completed. Late effects can occur almost anywhere in the body and include physical problems, such as heart and lung problems, and emotional and cognitive (memory, thinking, and attention) problems, such as anxiety, depression, and learning disorders. It is important for all children treated for cancer 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 established guidelines for the long-term follow-up of childhood cancer survivors at www.survivorshipguidelines.org.
In, 2003, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report entitled Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life. This report describes the impressive advances in treatment for childhood cancers over the past three decades. In addition, it reviews the variety of late effects that survivors of childhood cancer may have, emphasizing the importance of continued follow-up care throughout their lives. Review more details about this IOM report.
Last Updated: July 18, 2011