EVERY YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES approximately 12,000 children and adolescents under the age of twenty years are diagnosed Blood cancer in children. Of these blood cancer in children, approximately 2,500 will be afﬂicted with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 500 with other types of blood cancer in children. Signiﬁcant progress has been made in the treatment of childhood cancer over the past four decades, best illustrated by the dramatically improved cure rate for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A leading textbook on child- hood cancer published in 1960* described leukemia in childhood as being “incurable.” Today, the cure rate for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is 75 percent overall, and over 85 percent in certain groups of children with particular types of leukemia.
Not every blood cancer in children , however, is guaranteed a cure, and progress in the treatment of certain types of leukemia has been deﬁnite but slow. Long-term effects following childhood cancer and its treatment are now common as more children are cured of cancer. Thus the diagnosis of any form of cancer in a child remains devastat- ing to a family suddenly thrust into a foreign and threatening world of new and frightening words, medical tests and treatments, uncertainty about the future and, perhaps worst of all for parents, loss of control in guiding their child’s life.