A Star in the Sky: Cancer in Children

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Every year 200,000 children develop cancer around the world. Vibe was one of them. In June 2007 the five-year-old Danish girl was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Due to the location of the tumor it was not possible to surgically remove it. Instead, Vibe went through a treatment procedure with a stem cell transplantation, 4 chemotherapy treatments and 30 radiation treatments. In January 2009 Vibe lost the fight against cancer. Vibe's father Michael used to say that he would catch the stars in the sky for Vibe if she asked him to. Now he tells her sister that Vibe herself has become one of the stars in the sky.

Thomas Lekfeldt, a freelance photographer from Denmark, won the "World Understanding Award" in the 67th annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition in March 2010, for his documentation of Vibe's battle with cancer in the project, "A Star in the Sky."

Thomas Lekfeldt, Freelance, "a star in the sky"
Vibe is taking a shower. She plays, spraying water all over the floor. She loves water so she really enjoys it. The tube in Vibe's chest is for injections.

In the United States, cancer is the second most common cause of death among children between the ages of 1 and 14 years, surpassed only by accidents. More than 16 out of every 100,000 children and teens in the U.S. were diagnosed with cancer, and nearly 3 of every 100,000 died from the disease. Children get other types of cancer than adults. For example Leukemia is the most common form of cancer with children, while they almost never get lung cancer or breast cancer. Brain tumors are the most common type of tumors with children.

In 2005, 4.1 of every 100,000 young people under 20 years of age in the U.S. were diagnosed with leukemia, and 0.8 per 100,000 died from it. The number of new cases was highest among the 1–4 age group, but the number of deaths was highest among the 10–14 age group.

Brain and Central Nervous System Cancers
In 2005, 2.9 of every 100,000 people 0–19 years of age were found to have cancer of the brain or central nervous system, and 0.7 per 100,000 died from it. These cancers were found most often in children between 1 and 4 years of age, but the most deaths occurred among those aged 5–9.

In Europe, the population-based registries of leukaemia diagnosed between 1970 and 1999 show an average increase in the incidence of leukaemia during this period of 0.7% per year.

Related Datasets:

  • The above statistics sources from CDC.

  • National Vital Statistics System - Mortality Data (link)

  • United States Cancer Statistics - 1999–2005 Cancer Incidence and Mortality Data (link)

  • Cancer Statistics in Europe, ENHIS (link)

  • WHO Cancer Statistics (link)

Posted by

Sui Zhang