Cancer in children is very different from cancer in adults, involving different cancer types and occurring much less frequently. In some populations, the number of cases of childhood cancer is growing slightly each year, but the cause of this increase is not yet known. Fortunately, survival has greatly improved in many countries. Today, in high-income countries, 80% of childhood cancer patients have a good chance of survival, compared with only 20% 50 years ago. However, huge inequalities persist. In low- and middle-income countries, many childhood cancer patients remain undiagnosed or untreated.
To better understand and address these inequalities, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) supports the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, which aims to reach at least a 60% survival rate for all childhood cancer patients globally by 2030.
Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher leads the childhood cancer team in the Section of Cancer Surveillance at IARC.