Dear PAC2,

Each year the American Cancer Society reports on the state of the cancer world in its report Cancer Facts and Figures.   The latest report came out last week and, surprisingly, featured a Special Section on Childhood Cancer.   The Special Section summarizes some of the more recent statistics available on childhood cancer, and two updated statistics stood out to us: 1) the number of children under diagnosed annually, and 2) the risk of developing cancer before age 20. 

As has been previously reported, from 1975 to 2010, the overall incidence of pediatric cancer in the US increased slightly, by an average of 0.6% per year.  This increasing incidence results in updates to two commonly quoted numbers:

  1. Number of Children Diagnosed Annually - Sadly, we are now rapidly approaching 16,000 kids diagnosed annually.   This number has increased from an estimated 12,500 diagnosed annually in 2008.  For 2014, the ACS has estimated the number of 15,780 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed.  That's 43 kids every day. 
  2. Risk of Diagnosis Before Age 20 - The chance of a child under 20 being diagnosed with cancer has been increased to 1 in 285.  This compares to the previously commonly quoted estimates of 1 in 300 or 1 in 300. 


Bottom line....if you're still thinking around 12,500 kids/year, and a 1 in 300 risk before age 20, it's shocking to see that nearly 16,000 kids under 20 will be diagnosed this year, and that the risk of being diagnosed with cancer before age 20 has increased to 1 in 285.


The report goes on to say that “Progress in childhood cancer has been dramatic for some sites, but we cannot let that blind us from the fact that progress has been disappointingly slow for other sites, and that cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., American Cancer Society chief medical officer. “There is much work to be done to improve outcomes, to reduce side effects associated with cancer and its treatment, and, we hope, to understand more about the molecular events that lead to childhood cancer in order to come up with ways to prevent or detect it early.”

We thank ASCAN and its folks on the ground for their advocacy work:

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN),has worked on a variety of childhood cancer public policies and legislative initiatives. Specifically, ACS CAN endorsed a number of bills, which became law in 2012, that focus on pediatric cancer, including the Reauthorization of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA). In addition, ACS CAN has endorsed the pediatric cancer community’s legislative priorities for the 113th Congress, including the Childhood Cancer Survivors’ Quality of Life Act, and reauthorization and appropriations for the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act. ACS CAN is also an active participant in the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.

You all know our history with ACS.  Here's the deal with ACS.... Here's what they say about funding:

As of September 2013, this program is funding approximately $29 million in research specifically related to childhood and adolescent cancer through 56 research grants. Additionally, the Society is funding about $16 million in brain cancer research, $28 million in leukemia research, and $15 million in lymphoma research covering both childhood and adult disease.  

It's increased to 16,000 children a year, and that's only here in the US.   1 in 285.....

Childhood cancer is becoming less and less rare; and more and more like a tragedy that needs the attention of public officials, pharmaceutical firms, advocates and moms and dads in Anywhere, USA. 

Please, take one moment to Ask Congress to Support an Expansion of Childhood Cancer Research.



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