There are 74 million children in the USA. According the National Cancer Institute, only 0.0024% of them die of cancer each year. Adults are 100 times more likely to die from cancer than children, and children are a mere 0.3% of cancer deaths every year. To put things in perspective, more children will be born in the USA between the hours of 12:00PM and 5:00PM today than will die of cancer this entire year. The risk of you getting struck by lightning in your life is three times higher than the risk of a child dying of cancer. According to the CDC, 12,000 people age 1 to 19 years, die from accidents each year. That is seven times the number of cancer fatalities. Of course, death is not the only bad outcome from trauma. Tens of thousands more children survive accidents, but are permanently injured.
Incredibly, there are entire hospitals and specialists devoted a disease that doesn’t kill 99.998% of children. The average cost associated with childhood cancer is an astronomical $833,000, and the cost of a single hospitalization is $40,000. Other countries do not treat pediatric cancer this way, and our approach comes with great opportunity costs. For every child treated for cancer, we could hire school crossing guards, something that would ultimately save many more children. Indeed, there is a serious shortage of school crossing guards right now.
If you truly care about saving children’s lives – and no one cares more about children than me – then you’ll join me in calling for an end to pediatric cancer hospitals and the entire field of pediatric oncology.