• Press Release
  • For Immediate Release
  • Media Contact:
    • Michele Franco
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 264
    • michele.franco@stbaldricks.org

St. Baldrick’s Works to Give Kids with Cancer More Than Five Years

This June, for National Cancer Survivor Month, join the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and help more kids not just survive, but thrive

LOS ANGELES (June 15, 2021) – In recognition of National Cancer Survivor Month, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, raises awareness about the challenges and life-threatening conditions faced by childhood cancer survivors. In addition, the Foundation highlights the fact that survivorship is a lifelong journey and issues a call to support research to find more effective and less toxic treatments.

When St. Baldrick’s began in 2000, the survival rate for childhood cancer was 80%. But, according to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for childhood cancers has risen to 84% overall. That is meaningful in scientific terms, but it’s just not good enough for a child with cancer.

The survival rate counts children who are alive five years after diagnosis, regardless of treatment status. But, for many children, treatment lasts three years or more, so by the time they hit that five-year mark, even if they are cancer-free, relapse is still a threat.

While hitting the five-year milestone is worth celebrating, some will die later, either of their cancer or the effects of their treatment. Even long-term survivors are at risk. By the age of 50, 99% have had one or more chronic health problems caused by the toxicity of the treatment that initially saved their life. And 96% of survivors have had a life-threatening condition.

“St. Baldrick’s isn’t looking to give kids just five years, but a whole lifetime. Survivors deserve a high quality of life, active lives, to attend college, build a career, raise a family and anything else they choose to do, free of the burden of cancer and the toxic effects of treatment,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “Our goal isn’t to help kids get by, but to have the health to shine in every circumstance of their lives.”

Today in the U.S., there are about 500,000 survivors of childhood cancer. That is about 1 in every 750 young adults. Whether someone is diagnosed as an infant, child, or young adult, their health needs to be monitored carefully for the rest of their lives.

Looking at survival rates for all childhood cancers combined shows that research is making a difference – that more children are cured now than before. But, the progress is because research has found better treatments for a few cancers – like some leukemias. But, for other types of childhood cancer – like osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone – treatment is not much different today than it was decades ago. And for some- including certain brain tumors – there is still no cure.

“Research works. We need more heroes to make more of it possible,” Ruddy said.

To help find a cure for not just some but all childhood cancers, go to StBaldricks.org/Donate.

Help raise awareness. Visit the St. Baldrick’s blog to share stories of childhood cancer survivors and add your voice to the conversation on social media by using @StBaldricks.

For members of the media – To feature a local childhood cancer survivor or survivorship studies taking place in your area, please contact Michele Franco at michele.franco@stbaldricks.org. 

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Every 2 minutes a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 5 will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, is on a mission to give kids a lifetime by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one hospital – you support virtually every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer across the U.S. St. Baldrick’s ensures that children fighting cancer now — and those diagnosed in the future — will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment, by supporting every stage of research, from new ideas in the lab to the development of new therapies, to life-saving clinical trials. Join us at StBaldricks.org and help #GiveKidsaLifetime.