Cancer is thought of as a disease of the middle-aged and elderly but cancer is a leading cause of sickness and death in children. Over 160,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year and an estimated 90,000 will die of the disease [1]. This means thatevery 3 minutes of every day somewhere in the world a family receives the devastating news that their child has cancer.

Children develop very different kinds of cancer from those seen in adults (link to more detailed information about types of childhood cancers) and the treatments are therefore different. Thanks to advances in the field of childhood cancer treatments overall about 70% of children who develop the disease can be cured but the different types of cancers have different cure rates. Moreover, for children with cancer where you live affects your chances of survival. Over 80% of the world’s children are born in low and middle-income countries with little or no access to the best modern therapy [2]. Tens of thousands of children each year die needlessly of the disease, having never receivedeffective pain relief.

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[1] J Ferlay et al, Globocan 2002: Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide. IARC CancerBase no. 5 version 2.0.
[2] AW Craft, Acta Paediatrica, Volume 89, Issue 4, pages 386–392, April 2000, first published online: 2 JAN 2007