By: Amanda Termuhlen, M.D., medical director, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach | The news of a cancer diagnosis is never welcome, but may be even more unexpected and difficult when the disease is diagnosed in a child or young adult. Although cancer is much less common among children compared to older adults - each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words "your child has cancer." Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the No. 1 cause of death by disease in children.
Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just 50 years ago to nearly 80 percent today – for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.