Skip to content

Contact: Joe Martin
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA – September 25, 2019 – According to a new research brief released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), there were 8,827 hospital admissions for Pennsylvania children with a cancer diagnosis during the three-year period 2016, 2017 and 2018—a figure that translates into an average of eight hospital admissions per day.

“Releasing this brief in September—Childhood Cancer Awareness Month—helps to raise awareness on how Pennsylvania children are affected by cancer,” said Joe Martin, PHC4’s Executive Director. “Examining cancer-related issues is always sobering but particularly so for this age group,” added Martin.

Annual breakdowns across the three years show that that were 3,035 admissions in 2016, 2,840 in 2017, and 2,952 in 2018.

Report Highlights:

  • At 31.7%, leukemias made up the largest percentage of cases (2,794 cases). Secondary (metastatic) cancer made up 16% of the cases (1,409 cases).
  • Almost 37% of the admissions were for children under age 5; 24% were for children age 5-9. Percentages for children age 10-14 and 15-17 were 21.7% and 17.4%, respectively.
  • In examining age breakdowns by cancer type, children under age 10 had higher percentages of admissions for the following cancer types:
Under Age 10 Age 10 to 17
Leukemias 66.0% 34.0%
Secondary (Metastatic) Cancer 66.4% 33.6%
Brain and Nervous System 67.2% 32.8%
Digestive System 69.5% 30.5%
Kidney and Urinary Tract 95.1% 4.9%
Other and Unspecified 72.2% 27.8%
  • Children age 10-17 had higher percentages of admissions for these types of cancer:
Under Age 10 Age 10 to 17
Bone, Connective Tissue and Skin 34.1% 65.9%
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 34.2% 65.8%
Hodgkin’s Disease 4.5% 95.5%
  • In addition to the 8,827 hospital admissions, there were 19,121 outpatient records for children during the three-year period 2016-2018 where cancer was the primary reason for the visit. The most common outpatient services for these children were chemotherapy, blood transfusion, and diagnostic and biopsy procedures.
  • The brief also examines population-based rates. Statewide, there were 33.1 cancer admissions per 10,000 Pennsylvania residents under age 18. County-level population-based rates are also included in the brief.

The brief is available on PHC4’s website at You can also link to it through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.

225 Market Street, Suite 400
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 232-6787
Fax: (717) 232-3821