Kidsdata.org provides the following data on childhood cancer:
Net Five-Year Cancer Survival Rate, which is the probability of children ages 0-19 surviving cancer for at least five years in the absence of other causes of death,
are shown as ten-year averages. These data can be viewed by Type of Cancer and by Race/Ethnicity.
Kidsdata.org uses the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC) when showing data by cancer type. This classification system is based on tumor morphology rather than, as for adults, the site of the tumor. For more detail, please visit the ICCC Classification.
Advances in the treatment of childhood cancers during the past 50 years have led to remarkable improvements in survival rates. Despite these advances, still more children from birth to age 14 die of cancer than any other disease (1). Only accidents account for a larger number of childhood deaths. It’s estimated that more than 1,100 children ages 0-14 are diagnosed with cancer each year in California. Approximately 1 of every 340 children in California will develop some form of cancer before they reach 20 years old.
The majority of children diagnosed with cancer survive into adulthood and lead productive lives (1). Children treated at pediatric institutions that provide intensive treatment, supportive care, and psychosocial services are more likely to have positive outcomes. Childhood is the time to begin focusing on preventing cancer during later years. Efforts to prevent adulthood cancers can begin early by ensuring that children develop healthful behaviors, such as regular physical activity and proper nutrition, and by minimizing exposure to risks such as secondhand smoke and sunlight (1).
For more information on cancer, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Source for this narrative:
- American Cancer Society, California Department of Public Health, California Cancer Registry. (2011). California cancer facts and figures, 2012. Oakland, CA: American Cancer Society, California Division. Retrieved from: http://www.ccrcal.org/pdf/Reports/ACS_2012.pdf
Public policy can play a role in ensuring that children with cancer have comprehensive, appropriate and affordable health care, maximizing positive health outcomes and the quality of life for these children and their families. Policies also can support research to enhance knowledge of ways to prevent and treat cancer, and ensure that survivors of childhood cancer receive appropriate care for the late effects of the disease and its treatment, including risk factors for second malignancies.
According to research and subject experts, policy options include:
- Access to High Quality Health Care: Children and youth with cancer require specialized, intensive, and frequent medical care. Ensuring that pediatric cancer patients have consistent access to affordable care that is also evidence-based, well-coordinated, family-centered, and provided in the context of a “medical home” can maximize positive outcomes (1, 2). Having access to high quality cancer care requires that well-trained teams of health care professionals are available to all who need them. Policies that support basic medical research, professional education, centers of excellence that collaborate to improve care, including issues of late effects of cancer and its treatment, and adequate reimbursement for specialized services are essential (4).
- Quality of Life Support: Pediatric cancer patients and their families face complex challenges, such as physically taxing treatments, limited ability to participate in typical childhood activities, and increased family stress that affect their quality of life. Psychosocial and other support services are an essential part of high quality pediatric cancer team-based care, especially for those facing terminal cancer (3). For those children and families where cure is not possible, comprehensive palliative care and hospice services need to be provided. Increasingly, pediatric cancer is a chronic condition that often requires transition planning and services as children move from pediatric to adult care (4). Issues such as education, health insurance, and employment for survivors of childhood cancer need to be addressed.
- Financing of Care: Cancer treatment is expensive and can be a major financial burden for families. In addition, families of children with cancer must navigate a complicated web of service systems with confusing payment policies. This can result in delayed or denied services for children and financial hardship for families. State policy must work toward a unified, efficient and comprehensive payment system (4).
- Cancer Research: Policy that supports continued pediatric cancer research can promote advances in understanding of cancer risk factors and treatments that can result in both a greater number of children cured and a decrease in late effects of therapy (5, 6).
For more policy ideas related to children with special health care needs, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section. Also see Policy Implications for children with special health care needs.
Sources for this Narrative:
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health. (2006). Six core outcomes. The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs Chartbook, 2005-2006. Retrieved from: http://mchb.hrsa.gov/cshcn05/MI/cokmp.pdf
- Guidelines for Pediatric Cancer Centers. (2004). AAP policy statement. American Academy of Pediatrics, 113(6); 1833-1835. Retrieved from: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;113/6/1833
- Wolfe, et al. (2000). Symptoms and suffering at the end of life in children with cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 342; 326-333. Retrieved from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200002033420506#t=article
- Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. (2009). California's service system for children and youth with special health care needs: Analysis and recommendations for a service system that works for children and families. Retrieved from: http://www.lpfch.org/californiaservicesystem/
- Hay, et al. (2010). Child health research funding and policy: Imperatives and investments for a healthier world. Pediatrics, 125(6); 1259-1265. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/6/1259.full
- Castellino, et al. (2010). Outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer: Challenges for the 21st century. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28(15); 2625-2634. Retrieved from: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/28/15/2625.full.pdf
From 2005-2009, 9,101 children ages 0-19 in California were diagnosed with cancer, a rate of 17.4 diagnoses per 100,000 children/youth. The rate of cancer diagnoses increased from 16.4 in 2000-2004 to 17.4 in 2005-2009. Youth ages 15-19 generally have higher rates of cancer diagnoses than children ages 0-14 (21.6 and 16.1, respectively, in 2005-09). In California, white children also tend to have the highest rate of cancer diagnoses among all ethnic groups with available data, though Hispanic/Latino children have the greatest number of diagnoses.
Over the last decade, Leukemia consistently has been the most common type of cancer among children in California, with the majority of the diagnoses occurring before age 15. From 1999-2009, the five-year survival rate for Leukemia, 77.9%, was similar to the general survival rate for childhood cancers, 79.1%. Racial/ethnic disparities persist in childhood cancer survival rates, with white children having higher probabilities of surviving for at least five years after diagnosis than children in other racial/ethnic groups with available data.