Facts and figures on kids cancer

Every kid cancer is a rare disease

There are about 16 main types of paediatric cancers (leukaemia, brain and spinal cord tumours, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma…). Each of those is divided into several sub-groups. In total, it adds up to about 60 different paediatric malignancies. Those cancers are generally different from those affecting adults (even when they bear the same name: it is often another subtype) and each of them requires a specific scientific attention.

35,000 new cases in Europe/year

1st cause of death by disease for children aged over 1 year

All paediatric cancers are rare but some are very rare and receive very little scientific attention, even if some of them have a very poor cure rate (below 50%).

The situation will only improve if we finance more research into those high-risk cancers.

6,000 deaths in Europe/year

2/3 survivors suffer from long-term effects

Nowadays, anti-cancer treatments are heavy and leave survivors with severe long-term sequelae. Survivors represent about half a million people in Europe today. We must make sure that those long-term sequelae are either prevented or properly identified and treated or prevented.

Cognitive dysfunction (blindness, hearing loss)
Knees or hip replacement (major joints)
Amputation (foot, leg, hand…)
Organ removal (kidney)
Coronary or artery diseases
Cardiac failure
Secondary cancers (caused by the treatment of the first cancer)
Post-traumatic stress disorders

Innovation is lagging for children, and survival rate is stagnating

Significant progresses occurred in adult oncology. Since 2007, 200 new anti-cancer drugs were approved for adult malignancies. Over the same lapse of time, only 16 anti-cancer drugs were approved for paediatric malignancies.

This injustice is also reflected in the young patients’ access to innovative clinical trials: in paediatrics, this access remains an exception and only 1 in 10 children that is running out of therapeutic options is admitted in an early-phase clinical trial.

Quite logically, as a result, the average survival rate has been stagnating and only gained a meager 4% since the year 2000.

We need to identify new promising drugs and make sure that they are tested in the setting of clinical trials.

Prevention and early detection are not valuable strategies for children today

Only a small portion of children who have been diagnosed with cancer (5 to 8%) have a known genetic predisposition to develop cancers. To those children, we need to offer regular check-ups to allow an early-stage detection of any new upcoming cancer.

We do not know the causes of cancer for all the other cases. As a result, we have no tool to prevent them from getting cancer. If, in the long run, we want to prevent cancer in children, we must finance research on the causes of paediatric cancer.

Only 5 to 8% of paediatric cancers have an identified cause

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs) need proper care facilities

Being a “big child” in a paediatric ward or a “young buddy” in a cancer centre: this is how adolescents and young adults (15-39 years of age) feel when they are diagnosed with cancer: they feel like they do not belong to where they are.

It is not “just” a question of recognition: being treated in age-appropriate facilities has a direct impact on the quality of care, the young patient’s ability to trust its treatment and even on the access to adapted or innovative treatments.

AYAs have problems of access to proper care similar to those of children and also need a coordinated long-term follow-up of the side effects caused by their treatment. We must help them improve the quality of care and access to research too.

+/- 60 000 new AYA cases in Europe/year

We want to make sure all children with cancer are cured, and better cured.
By supporting scientific research, removing obstacles and connecting people.