What is World Cancer Day?

World Cancer Day takes place on 4 February every year. The day aims to raise awareness, improve education and galvanise action to reduce the devastating impact that cancer has on the world. It’s an important day for everyone to come together to raise awareness of the issues surrounding cancer and how it affects everyone’s lives. World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and Children with Cancer UK is proud to support this awareness day.

This World Cancer Day, we need more investment in vital childhood cancer research

Every day in the UK, 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer. On average, 2 of these will not survive. A single child dying of cancer is one too many. We are dedicated to funding research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancers not only to improve survival rates, but to also find kinder, more effective treatments with fewer toxic side effects.

In the 34 years since we were inaugurated, there has been huge progress in treatment of some cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer. Today, thanks to sustained investment in research and improvements in treatments, in which Children with Cancer UK has had particular impact, survival rates for young patients with ALL is over 90% compared to 64% in 1990.*

While this is incredible news for children and young people diagnosed with ALL, the outlook sadly isn’t as positive across the wide spectrum of childhood cancers. For bone cancers such as osteosarcoma, survival rates sit at 65%** and brain and spinal tumours – the most common type after ALL – claim more lives than any other childhood cancer.

For World Cancer Day 2022 we want to highlight that while we have seen impressive breakthroughs in cancer treatment, there is still a huge need for more research for all cancers affecting children and young adults. Will you help us achieve this goal? Get involved and spread awareness of childhood cancer, and the urgent need for more research.

*Office of National Statistics (ONS) Childhood cancer survival in England: children diagnosed from 1990 to 2014 and followed up to 2015 and Cancer survival in England: adult, stage at diagnosis and childhood – patients followed up to 2018

** Statistics were provided by Cancer Research UK (September 2021)

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Why we need more research - Emmy's story

Emmy was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumour, when she was just 10 years old in 2019. Tragically, Emmy did not survive her diagnosis and passed away in November 2020, just a year after she was first diagnosed. Her mum, Leanne, explains why we need more childhood cancer research:

Our outcome wasn’t what we wanted, putting our trust into the medical science to save our daughter despite knowing how high risk she was from relapsing. Sadly it still wasn’t enough. It is important to us to share our journey and help find that much needed cure for children of all ages. To enable them a future with treatment less harsh than it is now, a future they can try and look forward to. Treatments need to be more effective and safer for children.

Read Emmy's brain tumour story

Why international research collaboration is vital

Each year, an estimated 400 000 children and young adults develop cancer. In high-income countries like the UK, where comprehensive services are generally accessible, more than 80% of children with cancer are cured. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), less than 30% are cured.

Cancer in children and young people, comes in many different types of rare forms making it challenging to gather essential data and evidence needed to better understand cancer, and transform treatment and aftercare globally. However, through international collaboration, researchers can share resources, knowledge, and expertise to accelerate progress.

Read more

Get involved in World Cancer Day 2022

For World Cancer Day 2022, get involved to spread awareness of childhood cancer, and the urgent need for more research.

How you're helping - Astrid's story

Astrid was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), when she was just two years old. Thanks to progress in childhood cancer research, Astrid rang the end of treatment bell on 8 October 2020 with her family by her side. Her dad, Muir, says:

We knew very little about leukaemia at the time, so we had to learn a lot of scary things. Thankfully it wasn’t all bad news, and so much of what we learnt from doctors and nurses really helped us cope with it all. It’s very likely that Astrid wouldn’t have got through this illness if it wasn’t for research funded by charities like Children with Cancer UK.

Read Astrid's story
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