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Childhood cancer patient at CHKD reaching for the camera.

Childhood Cancer: Know the Facts

As we recognize September as childhood cancer awareness month, it is important to note that although the overall outlook for children with cancer has significantly improved, more research still needs to be done.

Childhood cancer is considered rare. Nationwide more than 15,000 children and adolescents each year receive a cancer diagnosis.

In the mid-1970s, only 58 percent of children and 68 percent of adolescents diagnosed with cancer survived at least five years. Forty years later, about 85 percent of all kids diagnosed with cancer survived at least five years, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Survival rates have particularly improved for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.

For other types of cancer, however, survival rates remain very low, and the causes of most childhood cancers are not known. Understanding what causes specific types of pediatric cancer could lead to better treatments and help children live longer, healthier lives. Patient advocates say the key to advancing treatments is greater funding for pediatric cancer research.

At CHKD, about 60 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Staff and medical providers make every attempt to help patients and their families during their treatment, which may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and in some cases, stem cell transplant.

Patients receive outpatient services in the Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, located on the second floor of the main hospital. Those who need to stay in the hospital, sometimes for months at a time, are admitted to the inpatient hematology and oncology unit on the fifth floor.

Designed to help make patients and families feel as comfortable as possible during treatment, the inpatient hematology and oncology unit has 16 private rooms, each with its own bathroom and space for a parent to spend the night. Each patient room is also under positive pressure, providing an extra layer of protection for patients whose immune systems are compromised.

The unit also has its own colorful playroom, so children have a private space to play just steps from their patient room.

About CHKD

About CHKD  Get pediatric health news, health tips, and more from the region's most trusted name in pediatric healthcare. Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters is a network of pediatric healthcare services in more than 40 locations that stretch from Williamsburg to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Virginia's only comprehensive freestanding pediatric hospital. Meet our doctors here.