13 December 2013
There are almost 10,000 children in the UK currently living with a cancer diagnosis1, according to new figures by Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).2
This research reveals for the first time the number of children aged 0-14 with cancer in the UK, with around 20% more boys than girls affected.
The figures also show almost half (47%) of all under-14s living with a cancer diagnosis were diagnosed at least five-years ago.
The most commonly diagnosed cancer in children is leukaemia accounting for almost a third of new cases a year.3
Sadly, many children who survive cancer will end up with an increased risk of other health conditions. These can include problems with growth and development, heart and lung conditions, and for some, an increased risk of developing second cancers.4
Child cancer survivors also experience increased anxiety post-treatment. Almost one in five (18%) parents have said their child lost confidence or was anxious about returning to school because of their cancer.5
Amy Green was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was just two-years-old. Her mother Denise, 40, from Essex, says:
'Amy was just two, living a normal childhood and loving nursery in 2007 when she was diagnosed with leukaemia. Her treatment was a world of hospital, isolation and adults - she couldn’t even go to the play area. Watching her suffer was the worst thing I’ve ever endured.
'Amy was four when she was ready to go back into the bigger world again, and had to start primary school, but she was very clingy and it was daunting for her. Wendy, her Macmillan paediatric nurse, went to Amy’s school to explain to her teachers what she had been through, and how the drugs she was on affected her moods. Amy’s eight now and in remission, but it still breaks my heart when I see her lack of confidence.'
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
'This research shows us for the first time how many children are living with cancer in the UK. While many children will go on to survive their diagnosis, we know the impact of cancer does not stop when treatment ends.
'More must be done to support the thousands of children living with cancer in the UK. Far too often they end up lost in the healthcare system and are not receiving appropriate and timely follow-up care. Adult specialists and GPs need to know how to manage the side-effects and lifestyle changes that can affect those treated as children.'
Dr Michael Peake, Clinical Lead for the National Cancer Intelligence Network, says:
'To my knowledge this is the first time such data have been available in the world and it certainly quantifies the burden children with cancer and their families have to bear. It will also help support the NHS to plan how it should deliver the optimum level of expert care for these children as they grow up.'
Each year, Macmillan Cancer Support gives out over £160,000 worth of grants to help families of children with cancer. To continue to support the thousands of children with cancer this winter, Macmillan has launched a The Greatest Gift fundraising appeal. To donate please call 0300 1000 200 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/thegreatestgift .
No one should face childhood cancer alone. The Macmillan team is here to support you every step of the way. For more information visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk/teens or call 0808 808 00 00.
For further information, please contact:
Cora Bauer, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2016 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
1 NCIN. 2013. Macmillan-NCIN work plan - Segmenting the cancer population: All cancers combined, 20-year prevalence at the end of 2010, UK. See outputs from the work plan here.
2 Macmillan and the NCIN are working in partnership to develop robust data analysis and insight, which increases our understanding of the UK cancer survivorship population and helps make personalised care a reality. Find out more about our work here.
3 Cancer Research UK. Childhood cancer incidence statistics.
(accessed September 2013)
Brain and central nervous system tumours also account for over a quarter and lymphomas account for about 10% of cancers in children.
4 Macmillan Cancer Support. Long term side-effects of cancer treatment on children.
(Accessed December 2013)
5 CLIC Sargent, 2012. No child with cancer left out. UK survey of 221 parents, 60 children and 68 health and social care professionals.
http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/sites/files/clicsargent/field/field_document/No%20child%20with%20cancer%20left%20out%20report.pdf (accessed November 2013)
About Macmillan Cancer Support
More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder.
But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible.
Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support.
About the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), operated by Public Health England
The NCIN was established in June 2008 to coordinate the collection, analysis and publication of comparative national statistics on diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for all types of cancer. It is a UK wide partnership funded by multiple stakeholders.
The NCIN will drive improvements in the standards of care and clinical outcomes through exploiting data and support audit and research programmes by providing cancer information. Patient care will be monitored through expert analyses of up-to-date statistics.
For more information please visit www.ncin.org.uk and www.gov.uk/phe