FACTS

Childhood Cancer:

  • medical-563427_1920Leading cause of all children’s disease related deaths combined
  • Potential Years Life Lost (PYLL)
    • Adults = 15 years (average age of death is 67)
    • Children = 71 years (average age of death is 6)
  • The cause of most childhood cancers is unknown. Therefore, at present, these cancers cannot be prevented. Many adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation, and other exposure to cancer-causing agents
  • In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died
  • Thanks to today’s research, about 85% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live
  • For many other types of cancer, progress has been limited. For some kids there is still little hope for a cure

Brain and CNS tumors (27%), including tumors of the spinal cord

  • Tends to strike at younger ages relative to other cancers
  • Highest ratio of PYLL of any cancer
  • Only pancreatic cancer has lower survival rates for early diagnosed patients
  • Little is known about what causes brain cancer. Epidemiological research could resolve this mystery and generate leads for effective treatments
  • For brain cancer patients, hope for survival hinges on treatment improvements that will require research funding

Pediatric Brain Cancer:

  • Differ significantly than adult brain tumors
  • 90% of adult tumors arise in the cerebral cortex; 50% of childhood brain tumors originate in lower portions of the brain, in the cerebellum, brain stem, or fourth ventricular region
  • A large proportion of brain tumors in adults are the result of metastatic lesions from non-primary brain sites;In contrast, childhood brain tumors mainly represent primary CNS lesions
  • There are more than 120 different types of brain tumours, making effective treatment very complicated
  • Because brain tumours are located at the control centre for thought, emotion and movement, their effects on a child’s physical and cognitive abilities can be devastating
  • Pediatric brain tumor treatment:
    • Generally, a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery
    • Some tumors can’t be totally resected or operated on due to their location
    • 5 year survival rates for high grade malignant tumors remains low despite technological advances
    • Quality of life for survivors of pediatric brain tumours is influenced by the terrible long-term side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
  • DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)
    • The worst brain tumor a child can get
    • Tumor infiltrates the pons section in the brainstem affecting the central nervous system.
    • Child rapidly loses bodily motor functions one by one
    • Median age at diagnosis is 5 to 9 years old
    • Survival past 12 to 14 months is uncommon
    • Non-operable
    • No cure with 0% survival
    • No advances in treatment in over 30 years.
    • DIPG makes up 10-15% of all brain tumors in children, with about 100-150 new diagnoses per year in the United States and about 300 per year in all of North America and Europe.
    • DIPG is the most common cause of death due to brain tumor in children.
    • Radiation temporarily reduces symptoms, chemotherapy is ineffective
    • Treatment causes devastating side effects
  • Research for pediatric brain cancer is underfunded
    • Less than 4% of U.S. federal funding for cancer research goes to all childhood cancers combined
    • Pharmaceutical companies fund 60% of all drug development
    • Almost 0% of drug development specifically targets children’s cancers
    • Heavily reliant on donations from private foundations