Cancer in children is rare, making up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. In spite of the rarity of cancer in children, its impact may be far reaching when one considers its effect on parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and classmates. While major advances have resulted in the cure of more than 80% of children with certain types of leukemia, many challenges in the achieving of cure remain for numerous childhood cancers. Cancer in children remains the second leading cause of dealth after accidents.
Childhood cancers are different from those seen in adults. The most common types are leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma, and bone cancer. Treatments are different for the type and stage of the specific cancer a child might have. Usually childhood cancers respond well to chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, but many cases remain difficult to cure. Treating children with cancer requires help from psychologists, social workers, child life specialist, nutritionists, and educators. For many children who have had cancer, ongoing medical care is required for the rest of their lives to monitor them for reoccurrence of their original cancer, for development of second cancers to which they have increased risk, and for management of short term and long term side effects of therapy.