Spotlight on childhood cancers

Cancer Council Queensland is dedicated to improving outcomes through research and support.

Each year in Australia around 700 children aged zero to 14 will be diagnosed with cancer.

No child should have their childhood stripped away from them. No parents should have to witness the pain and suffering caused by this disease.

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.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the charity is committed to improving the lives of children with cancer, and their families, through both research and support.

“Whilst the past few decades have seen some amazing improvements in treatment and survival for many childhood cancers, it is still the number one cause of disease-related death in Australian children aged 1-14 years,” Ms McMillan said.

“Cancer Council Queensland is committed to saving the lives of all children with cancer, and key to this is the provision of support for world-class research like that being undertaken by the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry.”

Cancer Council Queensland solely funds and manages the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry (ACCR) – a national databank of information that is essential for epidemiologic, biomedical and clinical research into these rare but significant diseases – that was established in 1977.

Today, the ACCR is one of the longest running projects of its kind in the world and has had a huge impact on how we understand childhood cancer, impacting both here and overseas.

“Cancer in children is rare and difficult to study, and it is only by pooling information from all children diagnosed across Australia that we can begin to fill in the gaps in our understanding to enable the best possible research into childhood cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“This long-running project is helping us to see where and when childhood cancer occurs and where survival is improving or lagging behind.”

The ACCR has delivered a platform for increasing awareness of childhood cancer amongst policy makers and the community and based on the ACCR’s results, parents can be assured that children with cancer in Australia receive some of the best cancer care in the world.

Five-year relative survival for childhood cancer has continued to improve over the last three decades in Australia, increasing from 73 per cent for children diagnosed between 1983-1993 to 79 per cent between 1994-2003 and 85 per cent between 2004-2013.

“To continue to improve survival rates and to minimise the serious long-term side effects of treatment it’s vital we continue to fund research to improve therapy and supportive care,” Ms McMillan said.

“Psychosocial support services are incredibly important, with the impact of childhood cancer going beyond the physical, affecting a whole family’s finances, emotional stability and mental health.

“Our information and support phone line, 13 11 20, is available for family and friends with questions relating to childhood cancer – from managing emotions to outlining ways to discuss cancer with children and young people.

“We have a no cost counselling service for adults who may be caring for a child with cancer, resources relevant to the emotional experience of cancer, as well as a ‘Cancer in the school community’ guide for school staff who would like to support students, families and colleagues affected by cancer.

“We welcome all Queenslanders to call us for confidential support, advice or simply a listening ear from our qualified health professionals.”

If you, or a family you know, has been touched by childhood cancer, please reach out to Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20. This is a confidential service available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (excluding public holidays).

For more information on Cancer Council Queensland and the ACCR visit


Reference: Youlden DR, Aitken JF. Childhood cancer in Australia, 1983-2015. Cancer Council Queensland: Brisbane, Australia; 2019.

For more information, or interviews, please contact:

Lisa Maynard, Manager, Public Relations and Social Media, Cancer Council Queensland
M. 0488 015 702, E: