10 facts about childhood cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month –– what do you know about childhood cancer? Here are 10 facts about pediatric cancer.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. In 2019, about 11,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer. Childhood cancer rates have been on the rise for the past few decades –– what do you know about pediatric cancer?

10 facts about childhood cancer

  • After accidents, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
  • According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of childhood cancers do not have a known cause. Unlike many cancers in adults, childhood cancers are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors. Very few childhood cancers are caused by genetic DNA mutations.
  • There are over a dozen types of childhood cancer and hundreds of different subtypes:

The most common pediatric cancers have names you may not have heard of, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (the most common childhood cancer), neuroblastoma,rhabdomyosarcoma,retinoblastoma and osteosarcoma.

  • Fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer since 1980. Only three drugs (teniposide and clofarabine, and Unituxin for use in high-risk neuroblastoma) have been approved for use in children. Only four additional new drugs have been approved for use by both adults and children.
  • 60% of children who survive cancer suffer later effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
  • One in 530 adults ages 20 to 39 in the U.S. is a pediatric cancer survivor –– there are approximately 375,000 adult survivors.
  • The average age of diagnosis with childhood cancer is 6.
  • In 80% of kids with cancer, the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time of diagnosis.
  • One in 5 children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive. Approximately 1,800 children and adolescents still die of cancer each year; indicating that new advances and continued research to find effective treatments are needed.

Facts about cancer care at Norton Children’s

Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, combines the expertise of the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital and UofL Physicians to offer care for cancer and blood disorders.

Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville

Offering unparalleled cancer care to families in Kentucky, Southern Indiana and beyond.
Call (502) 629-7725

  • Norton Children’s Hospital’s cancer care program is one of the oldest oncology programs in the U.S. that has been continuously accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
  • More than 200 children receive care from Norton Children’s Cancer Institute each year–– patients come from 71 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
  • Norton Children’s Cancer Institute provides approximately 8,200 chemotherapy treatments each year.
  • We treat 44 sickle cell anemia patients each month.
  • 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 only multidisciplinary pediatric brain tumor program
    • Kentucky’s only stem cell transplant program specifically for children
    • Kentucky’s only pediatric apheresis and photopheresis programs
    • One of the few ocular oncology programs in the U.S.
    • An immunotherapy and cancer vaccine program
    • One of the country’s largest sickle cell anemia treatment programs
    • Kentucky’s only adolescent and young adult program and transition clinic
    • Life after cancer survivorship program
    • Pediatric bleeding and clotting program (hemostasis and thrombosis)


Norton Children’s Cancer Institute

Advanced pediatric cancer care.

(502) 629-7725

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