Childhood cancer on the rise

By Melissa Grant

Childhood cancer is on the rise in Australia, new figures show.

The incidence rate of childhood cancer increased by 34 per cent between 1983 and 2015, according to data from Cancer Council Queensland.

While more kids are being diagnosed with cancer, the good news is mortality rates have actually decreased by 38 per cent over the past two decades.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the findings reinforced the need for ongoing research in this area to help reduce the burden of this disease on our youngest generation.

“Around 770 children aged 0-14 are now diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia and around 100 children die from the disease,” Mr McMillan said.

“Leukaemias are the most common type of cancer diagnosed among Australian children, accounting for around one third of all cases.”

While cancer remains the leading causes of disease-related death in children over the age of one year, the data shows survival rates are significantly improving.

“Five-year relative survival for childhood cancer has continued to improve over the last three decades in Australia, with large improvements observed for children with several types of cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“However, there is still work to be done, with little or no improvement in survival for child with some types of brain cancers or liver cancer.

“Awareness and further funding are sorely needed in order to secure a future in which suffering is significantly reduced for all types of childhood cancer.”

The figures are from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry, which is independently managed and funded by Cancer Council Queensland.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.