Childhood cancer

  1. Cancer is the number one disease killing children from age six months to young adulthood. 
  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 zero and 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, 83 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer survive.
  8. Survival often comes at a price. Despite advances in research, over 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, organ failure, 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 seven and 31 per cent.
  10. Childhood cancer is consistently underfunded, accounting for only five per cent of all cancer research funding in Canada today.


  1. In Alberta in 2017,187 young people (ages 0 – 19) were diagnosed with cancer and 31 children died of the disease.

  2. In 2015, there were 1,269 childhood cancer survivors living in Alberta.

  3. Of these survivors, more than 75 per cent are living with at least one chronic health condition due to the cancer treatments they received as children.

  4. A third of these conditions are severe or life-threatening.

  5. These conditions grow worse with age without any apparent plateau.


  1. In 2012, approximately 1,400 Canadian children were diagnosed with cancer.
  2. One in every five Canadian children with cancer do not survive.
  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 400,000 children and adolescents worldwide are diagnosed with cancer.
  2. Eighty per cent of children with cancer live in developing nations and about 80 per cent of these kids die because they lack access to prompt, effective diagnoses and treatment.
  3.  Every three minutes, a child with cancer dies.

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