The rate of childhood cancer continues to rise, making childhood cancer research as crucial as ever. In the U.S. alone, 16,000 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer annually. Cancer is one of the top five causes of death in children and adolescents compared to other diseases nationwide, with 1,780 children dying from cancer each year. The best way to beat cancer is by catching it early, and to do so, children need the best care, support and research possible.
See how childhood cancer survivorship depends on research and how you can support pediatric cancer research to help more children survive and thrive after a cancer diagnosis.
How Common Is Cancer Diagnosis in Children?
Cancer diagnosis in children is rare, with only 18% of children under 15 years of age receiving diagnoses.
Most common cancers found in children and teens include:
- Brain cancer
Due to the low diagnosis rate, childhood cancer research funding has suffered. Only about 4% of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) funding is estimated to go toward pediatric cancer research.
Even though pediatric cancer is rare, it requires proper funding to ensure children and their families have better solutions for treatment and increase survivorship rates.
How Research Benefits Childhood Cancer Survival Rates
Childhood cancer research plays an extensive role in helping children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer receive the highest-quality treatment, giving them the best chance at survival.
In the 1970s, the rate of children with cancer surviving was dire — almost half died within five years of diagnosis. Today, the survival rate has increased to 85% of children with cancer surviving five years or more. This amazing improvement in survival is due to significant advances in treatments thanks to decades of laboratory and clinical studies.
Since the 1970s, children under 15 diagnosed with cancer have had an increased 85% survival rate for five years. Even children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, have seen a higher rate of survivorship — a 35% increase over five years. Additionally, childhood cancer deaths have decreased by over 50% from 1970 to 2020.
Laboratory and clinical research takes time, but they are key to childhood cancer survivorship. Today, more than 500,000 childhood cancer survivors in the U.S. enjoy their lives with their loved ones. We are on a mission to see the number of survivors increase through continued innovative research to help children around the world.
Why Research Is Vital to Childhood Cancer Survivorship
Continued research and training for primary care providers are crucial to ensuring childhood cancer survivors in remission receive the proper care for their health and well-being. The effects of cancer and subsequent treatment plans take a significant toll on the body. Due to the impact, childhood cancer survivors often require more in-depth examinations to ensure they are still in remission and that their overall health is in good condition.
Primary care providers have the critical job of checking for cancer returning. However, about 40% of providers don't believe they've received adequate training for recognizing the late effects of childhood cancer. With better research and training, signs and symptoms of cancer can be caught earlier, helping childhood cancer survivors receive the proper care needed to beat cancer again and thrive throughout survivorship.
Help More Children Thrive After a Cancer Diagnosis: Support Pediatric Cancer Research With Four Diamonds
While advancements have occurred, there's still a long way to go before eradicating childhood cancer. At Four Diamonds, we support children with cancer and their families by providing the best and most comprehensive care, support and research possible. Four Diamonds' nationally and internationally recognized research programs and consortia partners are leaders in finding better treatments and cures for all pediatric cancers. You can make a difference in children's lives by supporting innovative research and treatment.
Get involved to help improve treatments and find a cure for all childhood cancers. Make a gift or fundraise for Four Diamonds to be a part of saving children's lives worldwide.