Childhood cancer (also called pediatric cancer) typically means a cancer that is found in children and teens, and sometimes young adults. It is not just one disease. There are many types, which can be found in different places throughout the body.
The most common cancer in children is leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Cancer can also occur in organs and tissues such as the lymph nodes (lymphoma), nervous system (brain tumors) and muscles, bone and skin (solid tumors). Source - St.Jude.org
The National Cancer Institute —the government agency that is responsible for research and education— receives a $6.44 billion budget (2020). The NCI parses that budget to a lot of incredibly important projects. Every cancer sucks, and every cancer is deserving of research, but frankly, kids are getting ripped off. Only 4% of the NCI budget is directed to pediatric cancer. Yes, all pediatric cancers combined (brain cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, bone and tissue etc.). Four percent of the NCI budget shakes out to be about 250 million dollars. That seems like a big number, until you think about how long, meticulous, and expensive cancer research is. (And did we mention that’s the budget for all childhood cancers combined?) (source littlewarrior.og)
(Sources: Alex's lemonade stand, WHO, NCI, NATIONAL PCF, Littlewarrior.org)
The causes of childhood cancer are not completely understood. While adult cancers are often linked to lifestyle or environmental factors, cancer in children is different in several ways.
In a young person, cancer is less likely to be caused by the patient’s environment or lifestyle. Most scientists agree that cancer-causing genetic changes (called mutations) are most commonly thought to occur by chance. However, in about 8% of cases children are born with genetic changes that increase their risk of getting cancer.
Learning what genetic changes caused a cancer can help doctors diagnose it more effectively. Going forward, this information may also help scientists develop better treatments. Cancer treatments save lives, but can cause health issues later in life. Childhood cancer survivors should take care of their health, get regular checkups and give their local doctor details about their cancer history.