According to the Center for Disease Control and the Children’s Oncology Group, approximately 13,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year - and that's just in the United States alone.
This number is high enough to make cancer the leading cause of death among children under 15 in the United States. Approximately one quarter of children who are diagnosed with cancer will not outlive the disease, but the prognosis for kids with cancer today is improving all the time.
What Causes Cancer in Children?
Unfortunately, cancer in children cannot be linked to one single cause. Childhood cancer can be caused to a wide number of factors, including pesticides, asbestos, radiation and cigarette smoke. Still, the American Cancer Society reports that the cause of most pediatric cancers is still a mystery, meaning that there is never a guarantee of avoiding the disease.
Who is at Risk for Childhood Cancer?
Childhood cancer affects children of every ethnicity, every location and every socioeconomic status. While children who have a family history of cancer or who have been exposed to toxins are at a greater risk, those individuals who don't have a family history are not completely free of risk.
What Cancer Treatments are Available?
Children who are diagnosed with cancer generally see a doctor at a specialized cancer center. Treatment options may include a pediatric cancer drug, surgery, chemotherapy or participation in a clinical trial. Unfortunately, children's cancer research is significantly underfunded and outcomes are never guaranteed.
The earlier the cancer is caught and the less it has spread, however, the greater chance the child will have of becoming cancer-free once again.
It is impossible to stress the importance of routine cancer screenings in those individuals who are at risk of cancer or who show signs that they may develop it. Early detection is the key to saving lives. If you're concerned about your child's risks, visit your child's pediatrician to discuss your concerns today.