The median age of Childhood Cancer at diagnosis is six years old. Some forms of pediatric cancer have a 5 year survival rate of more than 90%, while others have a 5 year survival rate of less than 2%.
There is no known cause of childhood cancer, and it occurs regularly and randomly across all ethnic groups. Some children are even born with cancer.
Many adult cancer patients endure no more than a year of treatment. On the hand, the average length of treatment for children, from initial diagnosis to cure or remission, is three years.
If the child experiences a relapse, the treatment time could possibly be extended over many years with a potentially lowered prognosis.
In 80% of cases, a child’s cancer diagnosis is delayed until the disease is very advanced and has spread to other parts of the body. As a stark comparison, this only occurs in 20% of adult cancer cases. Childhood cancers tend to be more aggressive than adult cancers, so this late diagnosis can significantly affect the 5-year survival probability of the child.
Today’s pediatric cancer patients are still being treated with drugs that were developed in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s!
Why? Because childhood cancer is thought to be rare. Therefore, drug development for this group of patients is not considered ‘cost effective’. Tell that to a family member of an angel or warrior! Or visit a childhood cancer hospital.
Some forms of pediatric cancer have seen an increase in survival over the past few decades but one in four children will still die.
If formerly incurable types of cancer are being treated successfully with “old drugs,” imagine what progress could be made with new drugs!
In the past 20 years, the FDA has only approved ONE new drug exclusively for pediatric patients.
In the past 20 years, the prevalence of pediatric cancer has risen by 29%.