Contrary to popular belief, millions of children are not diagnosed with pediatric cancer annually.
Debunking the misleading and factually incorrect misconception is important because it does a disservice to the decades-long progress that has yielded better outcomes
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016, there will be 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses in the United States. Approximately 10,000 of these cancer diagnoses will be childhood and about 72,000 will be adolescents and young adults. In totality, 4.8% of all new cancer diagnoses will be pediatric cancer.
The National Organization for Rare Diseases classifies a “rare disease” as anything with fewer than 200,000 cases annually. Pediatric cancer is extremely rare with only 82,000 new cases a year. The odds of being diagnosed with cancer under the age of 40 years old is .0004%.
For 2016, the National Cancer Institute’s research budget is $5.1 billion. Roughly 4% of that is allocated to childhood cancer. There is no specific separate budget for adolescent and young adult cancer.
4% of spending on .6% of cancer means that childhood cancer gets a statiscally disproportionate share of research funds than any other age group or cancer type. It has worked, not only re less children diagnosed with cancer than ever but researchers are getting successful at actually curing pediatric cancer.
This progress is thanks to the prioritization in addition with unified academic fronts such as CureSearch and The Children’s Oncology Group, childhood cancer can proudly boast the highest average five-year survival rates of any other age group and the highest rate of five-year survival improvement in all oncology.
Many argue that 4% is not enough, but no cancer gets what everyone thinks it deserves.
At the end of the day, fewer children are dying from cancer. Unfortunately, this isn’t a fact that garners attention, instead public perception is that every kid with childhood cancer dies.