Childhood Cancer Report: Rates Up, Deaths Down
The American Cancer Society Childhood Cancer Report shows that there will be an estimated 15,780 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed this year. That’s one in approximately 285 diagnosed before age 20. It also shows that 1,960 deaths could occur from childhood cancer.
The falling rates of death from childhood cancer are attributed to advances in treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
The Childhood Cancer Report shows that progress has been made in some types of cancer, but not all. For instance, in acute lymphocytic leukemia, the 5 year survival rate has grown from 57 percent in 1975 to 1979 to 90 percent in 2003 to 2009. In some other types, there has been little progress. For diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the median survival time after diagnosis is still less than 1 year.
“Progress in childhood cancer has been dramatic for some sites, but we cannot let that blind us from the fact that progress has been disappointingly slow for other sites, and that cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children. There is much work to be done to improve outcomes, to reduce side effects associated with cancer and its treatment, and, we hope, to understand more about the molecular events that lead to childhood cancer in order to come up with ways to prevent or detect it early,” states Otis W. Brawley, M.D., American Cancer Society chief medical officer.
“[A]s a cancer epidemiologist, I was better equipped than most parents to face down this crisis. But that realization frequently left me wondering: how did families with little medical knowledge or inflexible work schedules manage their fears and navigate the numerous daily unknowns? …Having to choose between treatment strategies that are terrible and terrible really presents no choice at all,” states Jennifer Cullen, cancer epidemiologist and mother of a child diagnosed with cancer.
Childhood Cancer Report: Rates Up, Deaths Down.