The number of children dying from cancer has fallen 22% in the last 10 years, show new figures from Cancer Research UK.

A decade ago around 330 children were losing their lives to cancer every year, but this figure has now dropped to around 260, thanks to better treatments, the charity says.

The biggest fall was seen in the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer leukaemia, for which yearly death rates have been slashed from 100 deaths to around 55.

New treatment approaches combining a number of different chemotherapy drugs have helped drive much of this success, while research to improve imaging and radiotherapy techniques is also playing a role, according to CR UK.

More to be done

Nevertheless, while it is “very encouraging” that less children are dying of cancer, “a lot more needs to be done,” stresses Pam Kearns, director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in Birmingham, pointing out that there are still “a number of cancers where progress has been limited – such as brain tumours”. 

The new figures were announced as CR UK and TK Maxx celebrate the 10th anniversary of their partnership and the Give Up Clothes For Good campaign, which has raised £13.2 million since 2004.

To mark the occasion, the clothing giant said it will fund the UK’s participation in an international children’s cancer trial to improve survival for children and young people with a type of brain tumour called ependymoma, which are often aggressive and difficult to treat.

The news follows that of last week that survival rates in England across lung, prostate, breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers are on the increase.