Thursday, January 15, 2009

Childhood Cancer

The types of cancers that occur in children vary greatly from those seen in adults. Leukemias, brain and other nervous system tumors, lymphomas (lymph tissue cancers), bone cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, kidney cancers, eye cancers, and adrenal gland cancers are the most common cancers of children.

Leukemias are the most common childhood cancers. They account for about 33% of all childhood cancers.

Although there are exceptions, childhood cancers tend to respond better to chemotherapy. Children also tolerate chemotherapy better than adults. But, because chemotherapy can have some long-term side effects, children who survive their cancer need careful attention for the rest of their lives.

About 10,730 children under the age of 15 in the United States were expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Because of significant advances in treatment, 80% of these children will survive 5 years or more. This is a major increase from before the 1970s, when the 5-year survival rate was less than 50%.