12,400 children (in the United States) are diagnosed with cancer each
year. That's a classroom full of children every single day, year after
Currently, one in every 330 children in the United States
develops cancer before the age of nineteen. The incidence of cancer
among children is increasing. Each school day, enough children are
diagnosed with childhood cancer to empty two classrooms! (*NCCF)
About 4,000 children die from cancer each year. That's 11 children every single day, every single year.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family is affected.
Treatment is often lengthy, and always time-consuming.
Some diagnoses are treated outpatient for over three years; others
require lengthy inpatient stays.
Siblings of children with cancer face an entire set of
emotional challenges, from wondering if they are to blame for their
sibling's diagnosis, to feelings of jealousy for all the attention and
gifts the child with cancer is receiving, to feeling abandoned by their
parents as the parents (necessarily and expectedly) focus their time and
energy on the child in treatment.
Cancer is NOT contagious.
Support (emotional, physical, maybe even financial) of
the family IS contagious -- and very much needed from everyone -- from
friends to neighbors to entire communities. When you know a child who is
diagnosed with cancer, be the first one to offer support -- others will
Cancer is the #1 disease-related killer of children under the age of 14 years, next to accidents.
Childhood cancers are mostly those of the white blood cells
(leukemia's), brain, bone, the lymphatic system and tumors of the
muscles, kidneys and nervous system. Each of these behaves differently.
Cancers in very young children are highly aggressive and behave unlike
malignant disease seen at other times of life. The median age for
childhood cancer is six. Children frequently have a more advanced stage
of cancer when they are first diagnosed. 80% of children show that
cancer has spread to distant sites in the body when the disease is first
Although it is unlikely that your child will develop cancer, as a
parent, you need to be aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer.
Observe your child for any sudden, persistent changes in health or
behavior as listed on the Signs of Childhood Cancer page. Since most of
the symptoms of cancer can also be attributed to benign conditions, the
diagnosis of cancer can be a long process. You must trust your own
instinct and work as a team with your doctor, using your knowledge of
your child and your doctor's knowledge of medicine to protect your