There are dozens of cancers and numerous subtypes that strike children of ages 0 -14 years. Childhood cancers are often different than adult cancers as their cancers are not linked strongly to risk factors related to lifestyle or the environment. In the US, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.
- An estimated 10,500 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2021. One in 389 children will be diagnosed with cancer by age 15.
- About 1,190 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer this year.
- Leukemias make up 28% of all childhood cancers; Brain and other central nervous system tumors 26%; Neuroblastoma 6%; Wilms tumor (kidney cancer) 5%; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 5%; Hodgkin lymphoma 3%; Rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue) 3%; Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) 2%; Osteosarcoma (bone) 2%; and Ewing Sarcoma (bone) 1%.
- In the 1970’s, the 5-year survival for children with cancer was 58%. Due to treatment advances, 84% of children with cancer now survive 5 years. Still, survival rates can vary greatly depending on the cancer type among other factors.
- There is high demand for development of treatments for childhood cancer rather than using treatments developed for adults. Even those who are cured may suffer long-term side effects as a result of the cancer treatments they received. Children who were treated for cancer are twice as likely to suffer chronic health conditions later in life versus children without a history of cancer.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2021
Signs and Symptoms
A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If your child has any of the symptoms below, it does not mean he or she has cancer. But it is important to have your child checked by a doctor if they have unusual symptoms that do not go away so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
- An unusual lump or swelling
- Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- An ongoing pain in one area of the body
- Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
- Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
- Sudden eye or vision changes
- Sudden unexplained weight loss
Source: American Cancer Society
leading cause of death by disease for children
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Researchers Working onChildhood Cancer
New Treatment Boosts Survival in Kids with Neuroblastoma
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children in the United States. Tragically, children with the rare cancer neuroblastoma often succumb to the disease despite aggressive treatment. That is until exciting new research showed that adding an experimental antibody to treatment shows promise to save the lives of children with this rare and aggressive cancer. About Neuroblastoma Neuroblastoma is cancer that begins in immature nerve cells and primarily affects the brain of babies and children younger than five years old. Each year, about 800 children in the United States are diagnosed with neuroblastoma. More than half of these diagnoses in children are discovered after the cancer spreads and becomes high risk. Once the cancer has spread, medical professionals must take aggressive measures. Traditionally, treatment starts with high-dose chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove any remaining tumors. Patients then undergo additional chemo, followed by a stem cell transplant to rebuild the immune system, and conclude with radiation. New Neuroblastoma Treatment in Clinical Trials Recently, doctors have introduced another drug into the regime – Dinutuximab. This drug latches onto proteins on the surface of many neuroblastoma cells. This new treatment hopes to boost the child’s immune response to cancer cells that have survived the treatment. A third of patients treated with Dinutuximab were recurrence-free two years after treatment compared to 46% of those who received standard treatment alone. In this December 2021 study, however, researchers explored how a dose of a similar drug administered earlier might impact treatment outcomes. The team led a clinical trial that found a significant increase in survival rates, with 74% of children recurrence-free two years later. This experimental antibody shares similarities with Dinutuximab, but it was built specifically to limit pain, which was a significant side effect of similar treatments. Children’s Oncology Group will lead the series of trials to test this approach in newly diagnosed children. If approved, chemoimmunotherapy would become the standard therapy and significantly improve chances of curing high-risk neuroblastoma. Improving Brain Cancer Survival This new treatment trial highlights brain cancer treatment’s tremendous leaps and bounds. Families and patients with a once tragic diagnosis can now feel hopeful as new options continue to emerge. The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) helps accelerate these types of game-changing discoveries through GBM AGILE, a revolutionary clinical trial platform designed for patients battling the deadliest brain cancer, glioblastoma. As a founding member of GBM AGILE, NFCR has taken a leading role in this unprecedented global effort. With help from our generous supporters, rapid progress is happening. New trial sites are opening in the United States and worldwide, and patients are being enrolled and receiving the most promising treatments. Learn more about GBM AGILE or make a donation today to support this impactful initiative. Additional Reads You May Enjoy: Childhood Cancer Treatment by NFCR Partner Receives Fast Track Review and More Good News From the FDA Pediatric Cancer Facts and the Need for Improved Treatment GBM AGILE – Changing the Way We Fight Brain Cancer Stay connected with us! Receive our monthly e-newsletter and blogs featuring stories of inspiration, support resources, cancer prevention tips and more. Sign up here. Related Video:
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