Childhood Cancer Statistics

Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States. Every day, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer and the average age of diagnosis is 6. Cancer affects all ethnic, gender, and socio-economic groups and more than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.

Number of Diagnoses Total = 13,500

In the last 40 years, the overall survival rate for children's cancer has increased from 10% to nearly 90% today, but for many more rare childhood cancers, the survival rate is much less.

  • 12% of children who are diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
  • 60% of children who survive suffer devastating late effects such as secondary cancers, muscular difficulties and infertility.
  • There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children's cancer in the United States.

Childhood Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates (per 100,000)

Overall 5-year Survival Rate  83.60%
Acute lymphocytic 90%
Acute myeloid 63.90%
Hodgkin lymphoma 97.40%
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 84.50%
Bone and joint  73.90%
Brain and ONS  75.10%
Neuroblastoma  76.40%
Soft tissue  76.10%
Wilms tumor  89.80%

Source: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (
SEER 9 area. Based on follow-up of patients into 2010

The causes of childhood cancers are largely unknown, and for the most part they cannot be prevented. A few conditions, such as Down syndrome, other specific chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, and ionizing radiation exposures, explain a small percentage of cases. Children with AIDS have an increased risk of developing certain cancers, predominantly non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma.

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