10 facts about childhood cancer

It’s an unfortunate fact: Childhood cancer rates have been on the rise for the past few decades. Here are 10 facts to know about childhood cancer.

It’s an unfortunate fact: Childhood cancer rates have been on the rise for the past few decades.

Here are some of the top facts to know about childhood cancer: 

10 childhood cancer facts

  1. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. (Accidents account for the most deaths among children, according to the American Cancer Society.)
  2. One in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
  3. Around 10,470 children under age 15 are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2022 in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
  4. The average age of a child’s cancer diagnosis is 8. 
  5. Most childhood cancers are not preventable and do not have a known cause. Unlike many cancers in adults, childhood cancers are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors. Genetic DNA mutations can be a cause of childhood cancers, according to Ashok B. Raj, M.D., pediatric hematologist/oncologist with Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
  6. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer and hundreds of subtypes. The most common types of cancers among kids are leukemia, brain cancer, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma.
  7. Some childhood cancers remain uncurable, and continued research is needed. Until recently, there were fewer than 10 drugs that were developed for use in children with cancer since 1980. Clinical trials have allowed researchers to learn how to maximize the use of these drugs, in addition to other therapies, which has improved the survival rates of many cancers.
  8. Around two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors develop a chronic health condition or “late effects” from treatment, such as heart or lung damage, infertility or secondary cancers.
  9. The five-year survival rate for children with cancer has increased dramatically over the years: from 58% in the 1970s to 84% today. In the U.S., there are an estimated 500,000 adult survivors of childhood cancer. Survival rates vary based on the type of cancer.
  10. One in 6 children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive five years. Continued research and clinical trials for new advances in effective treatments are underway.

Facts about cancer care at Norton Children’s

Norton Children’s Cancer Institute

Our team of board-certified pediatric oncologists uses the latest treatments and research to help treat childhood cancer patients.

Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, was formed by combining the resources of the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital with Norton Cancer Institute.

  • Norton Children’s Cancer Institute is home to one of the oldest continually accredited American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer pediatric cancer programs in the country.
  • More than 3,000 patients receive care from Norton Children’s Cancer Institute each year; patients come from 98 counties across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
  • Norton Children’s Cancer Institute provides nearly 2,000 chemotherapy treatments each year.
  • Norton Children’s Cancer Institute is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group and Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium, two of the largest worldwide networks for childhood cancer clinical trials and research. Our patients have access to the latest groundbreaking trials and targeted therapies through Norton Children’s Research Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
  • We treat nearly 300 unique sickle cell patients annually.
  • Norton Children’s Cancer Institute provides the region with the latest advancements in pediatric cancer care and programs. We treat all forms of pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Norton Children’s Cancer Institute is home to:
    • Kentucky’s leading multidisciplinary pediatric brain tumor program
    • Kentucky’s leading pediatric blood and marrow transplant program
    • Kentucky’s only stem cell transplant program specifically for children
    • An immunotherapy program, including CAR-T cell therapy
    • Only pediatric cancer program in Kentucky approved as a CAR-T cell therapy provider site
    • Kentucky’s leading pediatric apheresis and photopheresis programs
    • One of the country’s advanced sickle cell anemia treatment programs
    • Kentucky’s leading adolescent and young adult program and transition clinic
    • Life after cancer survivorship program
    • Comprehensive pediatric bleeding and clotting program (hemostasis and thrombosis)