Facts and Figures
- There are about 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada today.
- Each year, about 1500 cases are diagnosed
- Because of significant advances in therapy, 78% of these children will survive 5 years or more, an increase of almost 46% since the early 1960s.
- More than 70 percent of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors and the majority of them are considered cured. However, long-term effects of surviving the treatments for childhood cancer can affect these children's futures.
- In the early 1950s, less than 10 percent of childhood cancer patients could be cured.
- Leukemias, tumors of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles are the most common childhood cancers.
- In Canada, childhood cancer remains responsible for more deaths from one year through adolescence than any other disease; more deaths than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined.
- Childhood cancers have close to a 75% cure rate, with leukemia leading the success charge with close to 90% overall cure rate.
- About one in four children who are diagnosed with cancer will die of the disease.
- With a mortality rate of close to 25%, Canada loses tens of thousands of years of potential life each year to childhood cancer. In terms of potential life saved, childhood cancer rank second only to breast cancer.
- Childhood cancers differ from adult cancers. Adults are most affected by breast, lung, prostate, bowel and bladder cancers. Children are most affected by acute leukemia, tumours of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles.
- Leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children, comprising some 30% of the total new cases diagnosed each year. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form and comprises about 75% of these cases. Peak incidence is at two to three years of age, with boys 20% more likely to contract the disease. Survival rate is now 95%, with a 30% relapse rate.
- Lymphomas and cancers of the central nervous system are the second most diagnosed children's cancer, at 17% of total cancers diagnosed.
- Sarcomas, or cancers of the muscles, bones, nerves, fat, blood or connective tissue are next at 12%, with boys 25-30% more likely to contract this form of cancer.
- Neuroblastomas, which represent 95% of tumors in the sympathetic nervous system, represent 5% of all childhood cancers.