Aren’t we having fun? This blog party is awesome! As of today the amount raised sits at just over $2000! Our goal is to reach $3000, and we’ve got a few more days to party. If you haven’t yet, please stop over to Debi’s blog to see the awesome items that you could win. It just takes a dollar’s donation!
Today I’ve been looking at childhood cancers in general. I’ve heard some shocking statistics and I wanted to share them with you.
The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation listed some very sad statistics.
- In 1998, 2,500 children died from cancer . . . that is more children than died from any other disease
- Approximately 12,400 children (up to age 19) are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States
- Before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys will contract cancer; for girls, this is 1 in 333.
- The 5-year survival rate for children who are diagnosed with childhood cancers is almost 80% (although some cancers are much lower than this)
- There are an estimated 270,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States; this is about 1 in 640 people between 20 and 39 years of age
- Unfortunately, 2/3 of survivors live with at least one chronic health condition, such as heart or lung damage, infertility, cognitive impairment, secondary cancers, hearing loss, etc.; thus, childhood cancers affect the child for life
From the American Cancer Society, I learned of the top childhood cancers:
- Leukemia (about 33% of all childhood cancers)
- Brain and nervous system cancers (about 21%)
- Neuroblastoma (about 7%) (the one that Tuesday was fighting)
- Willms tumor, a cancer of the kidneys (about 5%)
- Hodgkin lymphoma, which starts in the lymph tissues (about 4%)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, also starts in the lymph tissues (about 4%)
- Rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue cancer in children (about 3%)
- Retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye (about 3%)
- Osteosarcoma, a cancer that starts in the bones (about 3%)
- Ewing sarcoma, another cancer that starts in the bones (about 1%)
(Yes, I know that doesn’t add up to 100%; but that’s the numbers they gave!)
Probably the biggest shock, for me, was in the funding statistics. The Candlelighters’ page said that, in 2007, funding for childhood cancer research was somewhere between $30 million and $180 million. Funding for breast cancer was allocated at $842 million. That’s only federal funding, this figure does not include the $256 million from private breast cancer organizations (such as the pink ribbon campaign.) The 5-year survival rate of breast cancer patients is close to 90%; this has increased since the pink ribbon campaign. Funding research is making a difference for those diagnosed with breast cancer!
Another important thing I learned from the Candlelighters is that cancer funding is dependent (in part) on the number of people diagnosed per year. Childhood cancers are less common than adult cancers and are thus funded at lower levels. However, it has been suggested that another factor should be considered, something that is called PYLL (person years life lost.) If a woman dies from breast cancer at the average age–61–the PYLL is 16. If a child dies from cancer at the average age–10–the PYLL is 67. In other words, an average of 67 years of life are lost for each child who dies from cancer!
I know that the funding question is big and complicated, and I don’t feel qualified to decide who gets the funding. Several of my loved ones have been impacted by many different cancers. I’d love to see cures for ALL cancers.
But one thing I do know: We can help improve the outcomes for children who are diagnosed with cancer. Tuesday’s blog party is one way we can do this!