Childhood cancer

  1. Cancer is the number one disease killing children from age six months to young adulthood. It is the leading cause of non-accidental death in children.
  2. Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class or geographic region.
  3. Unlike adult cancers, the causes of most childhood cancers are still unknown and are not linked to lifestyle and environmental risk factors.
  4. The incidence of childhood cancer is highest in the first five years of life, between ages zero to four years of age.
  5. Among infants, zero to one year old, the most common malignant cancers are neuroblastomas, followed by leukemias and central nervous system tumours.
  6. Advances in cancer research and treatments have significantly improved the chances of survival for children in resource-rich countries like Canada.
  7. In Canada today, 82 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive.
  8. Survival often comes at a price. Despite advances in research, 75 per cent of children who survive cancer live with permanent side effects, which may include but are not limited to, deafness, blindness, growth issues, motor impairments, cognitive difficulties, heart, kidney and fertility issues, psychological, neurological and endocrine disorders.
  9. Although advances in research have improved the chances of survival, many children still die from the disease. High-risk cancers, including those of the central nervous system, certain leukemias, neuroblastomas and bone cancers, still have relatively low survival rates, between 7 and 31 per cent.
  10. Childhood cancer is consistently underfunded, accounting for only three per cent of all cancer research funding in Canada today.


  1.  More than 160 Alberta children will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
  2. Approximately 20 of those children will not make it. 


  1. In 2012, approximately 1,400 Canadian children were diagnosed with cancer.
  2. One in every five Canadian children with cancer do not survive, making cancer the number one disease killing children today.
  3. There are an estimated 30,000 survivors of childhood cancer living in Canada today, most of whom live with life-long health problems related to the cancer treatments they received as a child.


  1. Each year, an estimated 250,000 children and adolescents worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and 90,000 of these children lose their life to the disease.
  2. Eighty per cent of children with cancer live in developing nations and more than half of these kids will die because they lack access to prompt, effective treatment.
  3. Every day, about 440 kids worldwide are diagnosed with the disease and some 250 die from cancer.

Note: Sources for the above statistics include Alberta Health Services, Canadian Cancer Research Alliance and the World Health Organization.