Support young Canadians facing cancer

01 September 2017

Toronto -

Brock Taraba

Transportation assistance program helps ease the burden of family’s costs.

Read Brock's story

One child with cancer is too many. During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September and all throughout the year, we care about every single child living with cancer and their families. We understand the toll that cancer can take. At the Canadian Cancer Society, because of our donors, we continue to invest in Canada’s best childhood cancer research. We are Canada’s largest national charitable funder of childhood cancer research.

Thanks to our generous donors, we have invested over $50 million in the last 15 years, supporting more than 170 research projects to help children survive cancer and lead full lives. And we have made progress. In the late 1980s, the 5-year survival rate for childhood cancers was 71%. Today, this has risen to 83%. Investments in research mean childhood cancer can often be detected earlier and better treatments can be offered.

We’ve made great strides and more children are surviving cancer, but we have more work to do. Childhood cancer is still the number 1 cause of disease-related death in Canadian children past infancy, and 2 out of every 3 childhood cancer survivors will suffer long-term side effects from their treatment.

Please help us continue our work!

Our research

The Canadian Cancer Society is proud to be a leader in childhood cancer. Our research has lead to new and more effective treatments for childhood cancers and an increase in the number of children who survive into adulthood. Here are some examples of the exciting work made possible by our donors and partners:

  • Defining a new form of childhood brain cancer

    Dr Cynthia Hawkins (The Hospital for Sick Children) is searching for better ways to diagnose and treat childhood cancers of the central nervous system (CNS) – the brain and spinal cord. Dr Hawkins met with international experts to update the World Health Organization (WHO)’s classification system for CNS tumours. Based on her research, an entirely new diagnostic category was created, which is changing tumour testing around the world.

  • Preventing childhood leukemia from coming back

    Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer diagnosed in children. Dr Trang Hoang (Université de Montréal) showed that abnormal stem cells that drive ALL growth were more resistant to chemotherapy than other leukemic cells, which could explain why some children relapse despite treatment. They also found a chemical that could wipe out these stem cells, offering promise as a new treatment approach.

  • Helping more young people survive bone cancer

    Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer and most often affects children and adolescents. Once the cancer spreads to other organs like the lungs, it becomes extremely difficult to treat. Dr Donna Senger (University of Calgary) is studying how certain immune cells are exploited by osteosarcoma cells to help them spread to the lungs and how to block the spread. This work could lead to a new treatment to help more young people survive bone cancer.

  • Learning more about childhood cancer’s impact on families

    When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it can be devastating for both the child and their family. However, little is known about the long-term impact of childhood cancer on the mental health of survivors and their families. Dr Sumit Gupta (The Hospital for Sick Children) is examining whether childhood cancer survivors, their mothers and their siblings are more likely to experience mental health issues as adults, compared to the general public. This could identify people at risk and inform the design of resources to help them cope.

Childhood cancer facts

    • Although childhood cancers account for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in Canada, they take a significant toll on Canadian families.
    • The 3 most common types of childhood cancers are leukemia, cancers of the brain and central nervous system and lymphomas.
    • The 5-year survival for childhood cancer is 83%.
    • The childhood cancer death rate has been cut in half since 1985.

Our resources

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, there’s a lot to cope with. Finding information and talking about cancer can help a family feel more in control. To learn more about our information and support services or to donate, visit cancer.ca or call 1-888-939-3333.



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