In Canada, cancer strikes 1 in 400 children under the age of 15. More than half of these children are under the age of 5 at the time of their diagnosis. It is the leading cause of disease-related death in young people. The types of cancers that develop in children are often different from those that develop in adults. Unlike many adult cancers, childhood cancers are not closely linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors. And only a small number of childhood cancers are caused by DNA changes passed from parent to child.
The remission rate for children is over 80%
The most common types of cancer in children under 15 years of age are:
Survival rates for these different types of cancers vary, but overall, tremendous progress has been made through research in recent decades. Today, the overall remission rate for children with cancer in Quebec is over 80%. This survival often comes at a price, since approximately 70% of children who survive cancer will develop after-effects and, for 30% of them, these will lead to severe problems.
Thanks to research and new treatments developed, it is now hoped that tomorrow’s young patients can be treated not only more effectively, but also in a way that limits some of the harmful side effects that can accompany standard treatments. Many clinical trials are currently underway in Quebec to evaluate new ways of treating pediatric patients.
Quebec has 4 pediatric oncology centers
Most children and adolescents with cancer are treated in a pediatric oncology center. Quebec has 4 such centers, located in Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke:
80% of children participate in clinical trials
Although children and adolescents are affected by many of the same types of cancer as adults, the way they develop and need to be treated can be radically different in young patients. Therefore, specific studies (clinical trials) in children and adolescents are necessary to take into account the physiological parameters specific to their age group. In Quebec, there are currently over 100 clinical trials underway to evaluate new ways to treat pediatric patients. About 80% of children with cancer participate in a clinical trial, compared to less than 5% of adults.
What are the steps that lead to a child or adolescent’s participation in a clinical trial? What to expect once in the study? Watch the short video above produced by N2 to find the answer to all these questions and more.
More information on childhood cancer
For more information on childhood cancer and the resources available to help families affected by it, visit the following organizations