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Childhood cancer



Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its actions. 

In a normal cell, when DNA is damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does.

  • About 15,780 children in the United States under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. 
  • Every two minutes, somewhere in the world a family hears the devastating words "your child has cancer."
  • Childhood cancer continues to be the most common cause of death by disease for children in the United States. 
  • Childhood cancer is not one disease – there are more than 12 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes.
  • About 1,250 children younger than 15 years old are expected to die from cancer this year.
  • Because of research and major treatment advances, more than 80 percent of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more. 
  • Overall, this is a huge increase since the mid-1970s, when the 5-year survival rate was less than 60 percent.

How is cancer in children different from cancer in adults?

Cancer can begin when cells grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.

The types of cancers that develop in children are often different from the types that develop in adults. Childhood cancers are often the result of DNA changes in cells that take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth. Unlike many cancers in adults, childhood cancers are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.

Cancers in children are different from cancers in adults, and the tolerance to treatments is also different. 


#PartnersInTheFight to conquer childhood cancer

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