Children’s cancer survival continues to increase

Cancer Research UK

Children diagnosed with cancer in England are now more likely to survive for at least 5 years compared to 25 years ago.

Fewer than 7 in 10 children diagnosed with cancer in 1990 survived for at least 5 years. 

"It’s vital that we find treatments that are kinder too” – Anna Perman, Cancer Research UK

But new figures from the Office of National Statistics estimate this to be more than 8 in 10 for those diagnosed in 2015.

10 year survival is also increasing, according to the new data that includes children (aged 0 to 14 years) diagnosed between 1990 and 2015. 

“These latest figures show the great progress we’ve made in helping more children survive cancer,” said Anna Perman, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, but she added that there’s still more to do to find better treatments.

Over the last decade, cancer incidence rates in children have remained stable. Around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, and there are around 260 deaths from cancer. 

Leukaemia (the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children), brain, other central nervous system (CNS) and intracranial tumours, and lymphomas account for more than 2 in 3 cancers diagnosed in children in the UK.

“Many children who survive cancer will live with long-term side effects of their treatment, which may have an impact on them as adults. So it’s vital that we find treatments that are kinder too,” added Perman.

The new figures are an average of survival across all cancers and children aged 0 to 14 years, so the picture will vary across these different groups.