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Childhood Cancer Facts


Helena & Henry (Mississauga)

Did you know...?
  • Despite huge advances in research, cancer is still the number one disease killing Canadian children today; 1 in 5 Canadian children diagnosed with cancer do not survive (source: Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation)

  • Unlike adult cancers, the causes of most childhood cancers are still unknown and are not related to lifestyle and environmental risk factors

  • The incidence of childhood cancer is highest in the first five years of life

  • Each year, about 1,700 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Canada (source: Kids Cancer Care Alberta)

  • Of that number, approximately 400 are in Ontario (source: Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario Networked Information System (POGONIS))

  • High risk cancers, including those of the central nervous system, certain leukemias, neuroblastomas and bone cancers still have relatively low survival rates, between 7%-31% (source: Kids Cancer Care Alberta)

  • Sadly, childhood cancer claims over 150 young lives each year; those who survive often require ongoing psychosocial, physical, and financial support (source: The Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database)

  • While over 80% of children survive cancer, more than 60% of survivors face late effects of their disease and treatment, including neurocognitive impairments, sterility, and secondary cancers (source: National Cancer Institute)

  • There are an estimated 30,000 survivors of childhood cancer living in Canada today, most of whom live with life-long health problems related to the cancer treatments they received as a child (source: Kids Cancer Care Alberta)

  • By the time they turn 45, more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a chronic health problem and 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions (source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

  • Given the life-years lost, childhood cancer is drastically underfunded, accounting for only 7% of all cancer research funding in Canada (source: Canadian Cancer Research Alliance)

  • Although cancer research in general has made huge strides in our lifetime, very few new drugs for children with cancer have been developed in the last 30 years; the weakest link in children’s cancer research is pediatric drug discovery

  • In the past 35 years, only 7 drugs have been approved by Health Canada for the treatment of childhood cancers and most of the drugs given to cancer kids in Canada are used off-label (source: Helena's Hope)

  • About one-quarter of families of children being treated for cancer lost more than 40 percent of their total household income, while one-third experienced housing, energy or food insecurity within 6 months of diagnosis (source: Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center)

  • Families of children with cancer incur an average of more than $28,000 in costs in the first three months following a child's diagnosis (source: Canadian Cancer Action Network)

  • Over 80% of families' total cost of illness was associated with family members (especially mothers) forgoing their employment and other unpaid activities to provide care; over 50% of mothers reported relinquishing their employment (source: Tsimicalis et al.)

  • Caregivers typically lose 23% of their workable hours; parents with children who have cancer face higher loss of income and out-of-pocket costs – in part because parents must accompany the child to hospital or appointments (source: Canadian Cancer Action Network)

  • A child with cancer needs the help of five blood donors to support their care. A child with leukemia needs the support of eight blood donors a week. Every donation can make a lifesaving impact on a child cancer patient (source: Canadian Blood Services)


September is Childhood Cancer

Awareness Month!












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