In recent years there has been an increase in the number of cancer survivors.
Today there are numerous treatment modalities, which may, in most cases, lead to complete recovery, increased life expectancy for childhood cancer survivors, and the return to the regular routine of childhood, or to periods of respite from the disease.
It should be kept in mind that treating different types of childhood cancers places complicated demands on hospitals and on the children's primary caregivers.
General Data about Cancer Diseases in Children and Adolescents:
Childhood cancers are much less common than cancers in adults.
300 to 400 children with cancer are diagnosed each year in Israel.
In Europe and the United States 10 to 15 cases per 1 million inhabitants are diagnosed annually. The types of cancers that occur in children vary greatly from those seen in adults.
The most prevalent childhood cancers:
The most prevalent childhood cancer is leukemia (cancer of the blood) which constitutes about 30% of all childhood cancers.
Malignant brain tumors (Medoloblastoma, Astrocytoma) constitute 15-20%. Cancer of the lymph nodes (Hodgkin's lymphoma, Burkitt's Lymphoma, or others) constitutes 10-15% of all childhood cancers.
Other prevalent childhood cancers: cancer of the sympathetic nervous system (Meuroblastoma) 5-10%, kidney cancer (Wilms' tumor) 5-7%, bone cancer (Ewing's Sarcoma, Osteosarcoma) 7-8%, soft tissue cancer (Rabdomiosarcoma) 5-6%, liver cancer (Heptoblastoma, Heptocarcinoma) 3-4%, tumors of the reproductive system (ovarian and testicular cancer) 4%, and Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) 1-2%.
Childhood cancer most commonly occurs at the age of 6, and in 50% of cases, the disease breaks out at the age of 4-5.
The incidence of childhood cancer for boys is substantially higher than for girls.