Queensland’s youngest cancer battlers have been given a boost, with findings revealing childhood and adolescent cancer survival rates have increased significantly over the past three decades.
The Cancer Council Queensland figures show that 86 per cent of Queensland children and adolescents, aged 0-19, will now survive at least five years from diagnosis, up from around 70 per cent in 1986.
The release of the data coincides with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is on from September 1-30.
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Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the findings demonstrated the impact of community donations in driving research and saving lives. “We are winning the war against childhood cancer,” Ms McMillan said.
“This is a wonderful outcome for children affected by cancer, and a wonderful reassurance for their loved ones and the whole Queensland community.
“On average, four children and adolescents between the ages of 0-19 will be diagnosed with cancer in Queensland every week.
“The great news is that ongoing research and better treatments have delivered massive gains in survival outcomes, with five-year relative survival for all common forms of childhood cancers improving significantly over time. This includes leukaemias, lymphomas, brain cancers and melanomas.
“Of special note, five-year survival for lymphoid leukaemia has improved by around 57 per cent, with around 93 per cent of children surviving today, compared to just 59 per cent in the late 1980s – a tremendous improvement.
“This increase in survival rates is in part due to increased funding for clinical trials, which have resulted in better treatments for young people who have been diagnosed.
“However – we have more work to do – with cancer continuing its tragic track record as the most common cause of disease-related death for children over one.”
Ms McMillan said urged Queenslanders to support the cause this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by raising awareness of the disease or making a donation.
“Every donation enables us to invest in research and support services, and also continue the vital work of the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry – a national databank of information solely funded and run by Cancer Council Queensland,” Ms McMillan said.
“A critical aspect of our work in children’s cancers, along with managing the databank, is to provide information and support to children and families in need.
“As well as a range of cancer publications, we provide confidential phone information and support via Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 for families affected.”
If you, or a family you know, has been touched by childhood cancer, please reach out to Cancer Council Queensland today on 13 11 20.