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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

1 September 2021

Nationally

September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time when cancer organisations around the world put the spotlight on children's cancer and the need to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. 

Sadly,  more children die from cancer than any other disease. Sadly, in Australia,  around 750 to 800 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer every year and almost half of those diagnosed are aged 0-4 years.

Leukaemias, tumours of the nervous system (mainly brain tumours) and lymphomas are collectively responsible for two out of every three cases of childhood cancer.  Australia is estimated to have the sixth highest incidence rate of childhood cancers among the G20 countries.

The good news is that survival rates for children with cancer in Australia continue to approve. The five year relative survival rate for all childhood cancers combined is 86%, up from 73% in the period 1983-1994. Most of the gains have occurred as a direct result of improvements in treatment through international collaborative clinical trials, of which Cancer Council is a part.

For the past three decades, the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR), funded and managed by Cancer Council Queensland, has been the only source of complete, population-wide information on childhood cancer in Australia for clinicians, researchers and affected families. It provides the foundation for research into this rare but significant disease and facilitates national and international collaboration to improve outcomes of childhood cancer in Australia.

Cancer Council also helps families affected by childhood cancers in a variety of ways while continuing to call for more research funding into the area. 

Over the five-year period from 2016-2020, Cancer Council collectively invested:

  • Almost $8.9m directly in cancer research specifically identified as ‘children’s cancer’
  • Almost $9.3m in research studies and projects targeting leukaemia across all ages.

Another critical part of Cancer Council's work is providing information and support to families impacted by cancer. Our 13 11 20 phone number is accessible to all Australians impacted by cancer and acts as a gateway to our other cancer services and information. 

We publish a range of resources to help support families experiencing cancer. Our Talking to Kids About Cancer publication is designed to help when discussing all stages of a cancer diagnosis with children from infants to teenagers.

In addition, Cancer in the School Community  assists school staff to support students, families and colleagues affected by cancer. 

Find out more about how we help drive research into childhood cancer.