Watch 2videos -- 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 more than 15 million cancer survivors in the United States. Many were diagnosed when they were younger than 21. During the last 30 years, improved treatments and better supportive care have helped many children survive cancer. Today, 83% of children and adolescents with cancer will live 5 years or more after treatment ends.
How Common Is Cancer in Children?
The most common childhood cancers in children from 0 to 14 are:
- Leukemia, which is about 29% 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. They make up about 26% of all childhood cancers.
Read about other types of childhood cancer.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2018, and the National Cancer Institute.
Long-Term Effects of Cancer Treatment
Although treatment works very well for most children with cancer, many treatments cause side effects that can occur months or even years after treatment ends. These are called late effects.
Late effects can happen almost anywhere in the body. They may include the following:
Heart and lung problems
Problems with memory, thinking, and attention
Difficulty or inability to have children, called infertility
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.