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Childhood Cancer Facts: By the Numbers

Childhood cancer happens everywhere. Each year, more than 17,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Globally, it is estimated that 400,000+ new cases of cancer affect children each year; however, this number may be vastly underestimated due to large numbers of undiagnosed cases.

Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded.

Every day, 47 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S.

Childhood Cancer Facts

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You can also view a kid-friendly infographic, “Did You Know? Childhood Cancer Facts For Kids”

Childhood Cancer Facts — United States

  • Childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded.
  • Each day, 47 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, which means more than 17,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed each year.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children, resulting in the death of approximately 1,800 kids each year.
  • There are approximately 500,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States.
  • In the United States, 85% of children diagnosed with cancer are alive at least five years after diagnosis; however this does not mean they are cured or free from long-term side effects.
  • Even those who are cured may suffer long-term side effects as a result of the cancer treatments they received. Children who were treated for cancer are twice as likely to suffer chronic health conditions later in life versus children without a history of cancer.

Childhood Cancer Facts — Global Overview

  • Every year, an estimated 400,000+ new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide. This number is most likely underreported due to many cases that go undiagnosed and a lack of comprehensive childhood cancer registries.
  • Globally, cancer stole 11.5 million years of healthy life away from children in 2017. This total could be lower, if all children received adequate care.
  • In high-income countries, approximately 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will be cured. In some low and middle-income countries less than 30% will survive. 


Updated August 2023