Childhood cancer survival rates improve

·1-min read

The number of children dying from cancer has significantly decreased over the last two decades, new research shows.

Children under 15 battling cancer now have higher survival rates due to ongoing progress in the development of new and better treatments, according to the Cancer Council.

Researchers in Queensland found five-year survival for all childhood cancers combined increased from 73 per cent between 1983 and 1994 to 86 per cent between 2007 and 2016.

This equates to more than 1500 expected deaths, or 39 per cent, being potentially avoided for children between 1995 and 2016.

They analysed information from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry and lead author and Cancer Council Queensland researcher Associate Professor Danny Youlden said Australia has some of the best survival rates in the world.

Dr Andy Moore, a paediatric oncologist at Queensland Children's Hospital and Associate Professor at The University of Queensland, attributed the improved survival rates to clinical trials and better supportive care.

However, he pointed out that childhood cancer is still a prevalent issue.

"Cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related death among children aged one to 14 in Australia, and we still need better treatment options for both the children with curable cancers and those with poor outcomes," Dr Moore said.

While the study highlights substantial improvements in survival for many types of childhood cancer over the past decades, there has been little to no improvement in survival for children diagnosed with liver cancer or certain types of brain and bone tumours.

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