Childhood cancer is relatively uncommon. However, it remains the most common disease-related cause of death in children – more than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined. It is second only to injury-related deaths among Canadian children.
Cancers in children act differently and are found in different organs in the body than those that are found in adults. In general, tumours in children often grow more quickly and spread to other parts of the body faster. Children are more likely to develop leukemia and lymphoma than adults.
Cancer in children creates a large impact on our health, economic and social welfare systems. It also places a burden on the child with cancer and their family. An estimated two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors will have at least one chronic or long-term side effect from their cancer treatment. As more children survive cancer, the need for long-term monitoring and follow-up care will continue to grow.