Why We Exist

Why We Exist

Overview

More children in the United States lose their life to cancer than to any other disease.  For those who survive, two-thirds will also endure chronic health conditions from the toxic side effects of cancer treatment, including secondary cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.

Although substantial progress has been made in the treatment of several types of childhood cancer over the past 5 decades, progress against other types has been limited. Even when long-term survival is achieved, many survivors of childhood cancer may experience long-term adverse effects from the disease or its treatment. Clearly, more research is needed to develop new, more-effective, and safer treatments for childhood cancer.

There are over a dozen types of childhood cancers, and countless subtypes, making it more challenging for researchers to find cures for every kid.

Virtually all progress against cancer in both children and adults has its origins in basic research, often in areas that are not directly related to the disease.

Children have often had to accept medicines and treatments based on what is known to work in adults. To improve clinical care of children, more studies are needed focusing on children's health with the goal to develop treatments, drugs, and devices specific to children.

So in addition to finding cures, a lot of research is focused on preventing the lifelong damage that results from surgeries, radiation and chemo-therapies given while young bodies and brains are just developing.

Many of the pediatric cancer treatments used today were proven safe and effective through clinical trials in the past. Just as your child may benefit from the results of previous clinical trials, the results of current clinical trials may advance the care of children diagnosed with cancer now or in the future, leading to improved treatments with the possibility of fewer short- and long-term side effects.

The Statistics

•Every day, 43 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer
•An estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age are diagnosed with cancer each year.
•About 1 in 285 American children will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
•More than 40,000 children and teens are in cancer treatment each year
•Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children and teens ages 0 to 19.
•Childhood cancer causes more deaths than all other diseases combined. The information below is about children and teens younger than 20 who live in the United States.
•Many adult cancers can be diagnosed early. In 80% of kids, cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time it is diagnosed.
•By the time they turn 45, more than 95% of survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions.
•Only 4% of federal funding is solely dedicated to pediatric cancer research
•About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies. Less the 1% of all funding for drug development in childhood cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies.

In the last 20 years, only 3 drugs have been approved specifically to treat kids with cancer.